Missouri Southern State Assistant Football Coach Killed in Shooting

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIINovember 2, 2013

Photo of Derek Moore courtesy of Missouri Southern State Athletics
Photo of Derek Moore courtesy of Missouri Southern State Athletics

Derek Moore, a Missouri Southern State University assistant football coach, passed away on Saturday in Joplin, Mo., succumbing to injuries sustained in a Friday evening shooting outside a local movie theater.

The school's athletics department reported the tragic news.

According to the athletics department's official release, the 37-year-old coached the team's offensive line. It was his first year at MSSU following three seasons as an assistant coach at Western Illinois University. He had accumulated 14 previous seasons of collegiate coaching experience.

Staff reports from the Joplin Globe indicate that the shooting occurred at 9:50 p.m. CST on Friday in the parking lot of the Northstar 14 Theatres. A 39-year-old suspect, Jeffery L. Bruner, was taken into police custody and remains in the Joplin City Jail.

Jerry Hinnen of CBSSports.com had more details behind the tragic circumstances of Moore's death:

According to police, the shooting occurred during a confrontation in the theater parking lot between Bruner, Moore, and Bruner's recently estranged wife, who had accompanied Moore to the theater. Police did not discuss the nature of the relationship between Moore and Bruner's wife.

Police said Bruner shot Moore with a semi-automatic handgun during the confrontation, then continued to fire after Moore had fallen to the ground. Joplin police Lt. Matt Stewart said that Bruner then placed his firearm inside his vehicle and surrendered to bystanders until law enforcement arrived.

Missouri Southern State interim president Alan Marble provided his perspective, per the release:

We are stunned and deeply saddened by this tragic incident, and our prayers are with Derek's family. We are ensuring that our employees and students have the emotional support they need during this difficult time.

Lions head coach Daryl Daye elaborated on the positive impact Moore had on and off the field in his time at the university:

Derek was new to Missouri Southern but he was embraced by our campus and community. He was a very likeable person who always had a smile on his face and made friends easily with our staff and players. This is an unspeakable loss for the MSSU athletics family.

Athletics director Jared Bruggeman also expressed his grief, while noting, as Marble did, that a priority would be placed on caring for those dealing with the repercussions of this tragedy:

The Missouri Southern athletics community is deeply saddened by the events that have occurred. In times like this, our priority is to make sure we are there for our student-athletes, coaches and support staff in whatever way necessary.

Due to this tragedy, homecoming plans are canceled and the Lions' impending home game against Lindenwood is postponed. No other adjustments have been made to the schedule at this time.

Grief counselors are available to university students and employees during this difficult time. A candlelight vigil is being planned in Moore's honor for Monday on the school's campus.

Moore is survived by a seven-year-old son.