Victim calls $500 reward from online group for Kamloops assault suspect a 'bounty' | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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Victim calls $500 reward from online group for Kamloops assault suspect a 'bounty'

Moira House is set to be built at 600 Kingston Avenue, near Halston Bridge.

A reward was posted online to find the suspect of an alleged assault near a city property that will soon be a homeless shelter, but the victim and his family are asking for the $500 to be donated for social services instead.

Nate Moats was punched in his face after removing a sign protesting the shelter location at 600 Kingston Avenue and RCMP are looking for a suspect.

In the meantime, a reward was advertised on a Kamloops-based social media page for evidence that leads to the arrest of the suspect, but according to Nate's father, Chad Moats, Nate calls the reward a "bounty."

"He doesn't want them using his name as an incentive to help find this person," Chad said. He told iNFOnews.ca that due to Nate's autism spectrum disorder, he's uncomfortable speaking with media.

Chad believes the reward is a "publicity stunt" from a social media group that has been criticized for allowing discussions about vigilantism against criminals and people experiencing homelessness.

READ MORE: 3 years prison for driver who killed 3 international students in Kamloops

The reward was posted by Matt Arnott on the private group "Kamloops Citizens for Change," which has nearly 3,000 members. There they discuss mental health issues, homelessness and property crime in Kamloops.

"It becomes an echo chamber, and it emboldens and empowers people to act out and do this," Chad said. "In the last few years we've seen Jessie Simpson hurt very badly from that attitude and now my son gets punched in the face for that attitude."

Arnott told iNFOnews.ca the $500 was not put up by him but the group. He and another moderator of the social media page would not agree to be interviewed until they held a group meeting among some of the administrators.

One of the group founders, Leah Moss, told iNFOnews.ca that she knew nothing about the reward because she's taken a hiatus from social media because between the toxic language she sees on the group and accusations that Citizens for Change is a "hate group," she took a break from managing it.

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"I don't know who's putting that up," Moss said. "If the family does not want us to put up the reward then we should respect that."

Moss added that the group that she started is not a "hate group" and is a group of people who want to see both more mental health supports and enforcement for property crime in Kamloops, but she did acknowledge that there is some violent discussion that can occur.

"The core members are all non-violent people," she said.

She said she would suggest Darpan Sharma, another moderator, should answer questions on behalf of the group, but he would not comment on the reward.

"I don't trust you and would not recommend to anyone else that they go through that with you," Sharma said, referring to previous reporting by iNFOnews.ca.

Chad Moats suggested that the $500 be donated to The Loop, or any other non-profit that offers supports for people experiencing homelessness in Kamloops.

READ MORE: Mayor, attorney general 'shocked' by assault near proposed Kamloops homeless shelter

He named The Loop specifically because Nate's brother formerly volunteered there over the summer, before its operation as a day space on Tranquille Road was shut down.

The Loop now operates as the COVID Meal Train, which delivers food around Kamloops to both people who are homeless and other vulnerable people.

The Mayor of Kamloops and the Attorney General of B.C. issued a joint statement Friday morning about the alleged assault at 600 Kingston Avenue.

"The City of Kamloops and the Province, through B.C. Housing, would like to express our sympathies and support to the victim," the statement reads. "While people may have differences of opinion on how best to support community members experiencing homelessness, violence is not a solution. It is counterproductive and unacceptable."

Nate Moats returned home on Nov. 29 covered in blood, but his family has his back.

"I'm proud of him. He stood up for what he believed in and he didn't back down, and he didn't respond with violence. If he keeps up that way, we will have less and less worries about his future," Chad said.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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