The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

November 4, 2013

MSSU coach shot multiple times at close range

JOPLIN, Mo. — Jeffrey Bruner stood over Derek Moore and fired several more bullets into the Missouri Southern State University assistant football coach after he collapsed from an initial gunshot, according to Joplin police.

Bruner, 39, a plant operator for Missouri American Water Co. in Joplin, confronted his estranged wife, Dawn Michelle Bruner, and Moore, 37, about 9:50 p.m. Friday in the drop-off and pickup lanes in front of the Northstar Stadium 14 theater on Northpark Lane in Joplin as a crowd emerged from a showing of the film “Captain Phillips.”

Police Lt. Matt Stewart said Dawn Bruner, who is an MSSU campus police officer, and Moore had been to the movie together and were headed toward their vehicle in the parking lot when Jeffrey Bruner approached and said something to them.

He then pulled out a handgun and shot Moore in the torso “at close range,” Stewart said.

“After (Moore) fell down, according to witness statements, (Bruner) fired more shots while Mr. Moore was on the ground,” Stewart said.

Bruner then went to his vehicle in the parking lot of the theater complex and placed the gun inside as three or four witnesses to the shooting followed and confronted him, Stewart said.

“They told him to get down on the ground, which he did, and they stayed with him then until law enforcement arrived,” Stewart said.

The gun believed to have been used in the shooting was recovered from the vehicle, Stewart said. Shell casings observed on the ground at the crime scene would indicate that the weapon was a semi-automatic pistol, although Stewart declined to provide information as to the gun’s make and caliber. He said police had yet to determine its ownership.

Stewart also declined to say how many times Moore was shot or whether the shooter had emptied the weapon into him. He said that to his knowledge, Bruner never pointed the gun at his wife or anyone other than Moore. He declined to say what Bruner said to his wife and Moore just before the shooting.

“He made some statements, but we’re not releasing what those statements were,” Stewart said.

Police have not said how Bruner knew that his estranged wife and the coach were at the movie complex together.

Moore was taken to Freeman Hospital West, where he was pronounced dead at 11:17 p.m. Friday. An autopsy conducted Sunday at Frontier Forensics in Kansas City, Kan., found the cause of death to be multiple gunshot wounds, according to police.

Stewart said Bruner and his wife, who had shared a home on Nashville Street in Joplin, apparently had separated recently. He said he did not know how long ago that split had taken place. He said no previous domestic disturbances between the couple had been reported to Joplin police.

Bruner is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action. He is being held without bond at the Jasper County Jail in Carthage.

Electronic court records indicate that Dawn Bruner filed for divorce in Greene County Circuit Court in 2000 while the couple were living in Springfield. The case was dismissed at the request of both parties.

Dawn Bruner began work at Missouri Southern as a reserve police officer on Sept. 28, 2012, and became a full-time officer in January of this year. She previously served as a reserve deputy with the Lawrence County sheriff’s office.

Cassie Mathes, director of university relations and marketing at MSSU, said Dawn Bruner has taken an administrative leave of employment in the aftermath of Monday’s shooting.

Moore was in his first year of employment with the university as an offensive line coach. Divorced for a couple of years, he is survived by a 6-year-old son who lives with his ex-wife in Iowa. The son had been mistakenly reported to be 7 years old in initial information released by the university in the wake of the shooting.

Affidavit not filed

MONDAY PASSED without a probable-cause affidavit being filed in Jasper County Circuit Court with respect to the murder charge that Jeffrey L. Bruner is facing.

Text Only
Local News
  • 0420earthday.jpg Prairie State Park kicks off Earth Day events

    Prairie State Park began celebrating Earth Day early with an event Saturday that provided a chance for people of all ages to learn more about how they can protect the environment.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joplin Catholic schools to hold annual spring auction

    The Joplin Area Catholic Schools spring auction will be staged Saturday at the Jack Lawton Webb Convention Center, 5300 S. Range Line Road in Joplin.

    April 19, 2014

  • Wally Kennedy MUG72.jpg Wally Kennedy: Another pizza choice and ice cream on the way

    A new pizza restaurant is coming to the northwest corner of Stone’s Corner in the Village of Airport Drive. Piez is opening this week in a storefront that formerly housed Quincy Magoo’s, 6039 N. Main Street Road, which has been closed for more than two years.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • mike pound_cnhi .jpg Mike Pound: No more hiding Easter eggs or emotions

    Well, that’s a wrap on the Easter egg hunts. For about 15 years we have staged not one, but two Easter egg hunts for our now 16-year-old daughter, Emma.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914 Wedding1_72.jpg VIDEO: Cancer patient walks down aisle in wedding thrown by friends

    A year ago, Schandera Jordan was diagnosed with a rare form cervical cancer. And months after a radical hysterectomy, doctors confirmed the worst: The cancer had spread to her lungs and pancreas.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • r041614giregabby.jpg SLIDE SHOW: Teen with cystic fibrosis finds widespread support

    When the Nevada Show Choir performs its spring show on stage, it’s impossible to pick out the student with cystic fibrosis because there are no outward clues.
    Gabby Gire, 18, is just another performer. She sings, she dances, she smiles for the audience.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Enrollment open for Joplin summer school

    Enrollment is now open for the Joplin school district’s summer school session, which will run Wednesday, June 4, though Tuesday, July 1.

    April 19, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

Must Read


Missouri Republicans are considering a new approach to prevent federal agents from enforcing laws the state considers to be infringements on gun rights: barring them from future careers in state law enforcement agencies. Do you think this proposal has merit?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter