A Quebec provincial police officer was killed while trying to arrest a man at a home in Louiseville, located in the province’s Mauricie region Monday night.
The police force confirmed in a news release Tuesday the death of Sgt. Maureen Breau, an officer with more than 20 years of experience. She leaves behind a husband – also a Sûreté du Québec officer – and two kids.
“It is with great sadness that I learned of Sergeant Breau’s death,” said Johanne Beausoleil, the provincial police chief. “Such an ordeal reminds us of the danger of the police profession when faced with extreme situations such as the one Sergeant Breau, her fellow police officers and the emergency workers who supported them during this intervention had to face.
“I offer my deepest condolences to her spouse, her children, her family and her colleagues.”
The 35-year-old male suspect was later shot and killed by other officers who arrived on the scene in Louiseville, Que., about 100 kilometres northeast of Montreal.
Quebec’s police watchdog, which is investigating, says Breau and another officer were arresting the man at about 8:30 p.m. for uttering threats when he grabbed a knife and stabbed Breau.
The Bureau des enquetes independante says the officers were in the process of reading the suspect his rights.
The watchdog says another pair of officers arrived shortly afterwards, and one of them fatally shot the suspect.
Police say another officer was injured during the intervention, but their life is not in danger.
“I just wanted to say thanks for the support we received from a lot of people, citizens, police officers from Quebec, Canada,” said Patrice Cardinal, the SQ’s director of communications and international affairs. “So we really appreciate that because it’s a hard time for the Sureté du Québec, of course. And that reminds us of the dangers, anything can happen with a basic call for something like that.”
Suspect had history of violence behaviour, mayor says
Louiseville Mayor Yvon Deshaies told CityNews the suspect had history of violent behaviour.
“I learned this morning that the individual who came to Louiseville four months ago was previously institutionalized in Montreal,” said Deshaies. “His mental faculties were affected. I was disappointed when I found that out this morning. It was confirmed to me he had mental-health issues.
“So he came to Louiseville, nobody knew him, he rented that apartment – everything was OK. But three days later, he started making a ruckus, some trouble, it wasn’t working at all. He was very troubled.”
Deshaies says police went to the man’s home on more than one occasion.
“How was he allowed out? How was he allowed to rent an apartment alone?” asked the town’s mayor. “Even though he was bringing problems with him. The people who evaluated him – I don’t want to blame anyone – but how did they not see he was troubled? Always problems.
“Two days after coming here, he was screaming, he was arguing with people. He was intimidating them. It just wasn’t working. We could have avoided this.”
Town mourns officer’s death
Louiseville resident Jacqueline Grenier said she was sad to hear of the officer’s passing.
“These are people (police officers) who devote themselves to protect us,” she said. “What happened is terrible. Terrible, terrible.
“Her husband I believe was also a police officer. There must be so much grief in the family, among her friends. (The suspect) is leaving only tears behind him.”