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The danger of intervening with the unknown assailant | Louiseville tragedy: the death of Maureen Breau

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The police who visited Isaac Brouillard Lessard on March 23, 2023 were unaware of several elements of danger before going to his home.

  • Marie-Ève ​​Trudel (View profile)Marie-Ève ​​Trudel

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The general ignorance of the police officers who intervened three days before the tragedy which cost the life of Sergeant Maureen Breau in Louiseville strongly attracts the attention of the coroner at the public inquiry which continues Tuesday in Trois-Rivières.

Officer Sabrina Fortin, a police officer with 10 years of experience who acted as supervisor on March 24, 2023, i.e. approximately 72 hours before the death of Sergeant Maureen Breau, claimed that she did not know the assault history of Isaac Brouillard Lessard before showing up at her door.

The police had come at the request of parents who were desperately seeking help for a son they believed to be in psychosis.

We had no other information other than parents who are worried about their son, repeats Agent Fortin.

The policewoman did not know either that the individual was being monitored by the Commission for the Examination of Mental Disorders (CETM), even ignoring the existence of the legal structure whose decisions aim to ensure public safety, which did not fail to startle the coroner.

Louiseville tragedy: the death of Maureen Breau

Consult the complete file

Louiseville tragedy: the death of Maureen Breau

Consult the complete file


Géhane Kamel argued that if the police had knew that Isaac Brouillard Lessard was under conditions, they would have had the legal levers necessary to bring him back to the hospital.

You didn't need him to be in crisis . […] You could have, on the simple fact that he broke a condition, taken him back to the hospital.

A quote from Géhane Kamel, coroner

Officer Fortin admitted to not knowing the powers vested in police officers in the event of non-compliance with conditions, such as drug consumption. The day before, a less experienced colleague who also spoke that evening had also admitted this lack of knowledge.

Officer Fortin also knew nothing of the circular written in December 2022 by a fellow police officer keen to warn his colleagues of the dangerousness and unpredictability of the individual who had then just moved to the territory.

She became aware of it on March 24, before working with Isaac Brouillard Lessard. The circular had been posted on the bulletin board at the Louiseville station for three months at that time. The sergeant indicated that she had confused him with another individual she met a few weeks earlier.

It's our daily life . We are constantly fighting cases like this, insisted Officer Fortin, overcome by a moment of emotion.

Géhane Kamel insisted on bringing the police officer back to order. When we talk about psychosis, we are no longer in business as usual, she said, not failing to recall that the day before, Isaac Brouillard Lessard [failed] in front of his attending psychiatrist.

The coroner appears more and more irritated, as details are revealed during the investigation, to see the extent to which information does not circulate between the police and the health community and social services.

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The hearings continue for over a week. The testimony of the Sûreté du Québec police officers linked to the March 27 intervention is scheduled for tomorrow.

Agent Fortin, who testified for more than two hours, also did not know that the individual had made delusional and threatening comments, even though the parents' call to the Info-Santé service clearly demonstrated this.

At no time before going on the call was anyone aware that there were threats, she insisted. The coroner said she was overwhelmed that the elements brought by the most important megaphones did not reach the supervisor.

They said: "This story is going to end badly." […] The father goes so far as to say: "Wait for what happens?" she added.

At several points since resuming her work, which has mainly focused on the point of view of the police, the coroner felt the need to point out that she is not looking for culprits.

I do not want the police officers who were on the March 24 intervention to be ostracized, she said, insisting on her role which consists of uncovering the truth so that such a tragedy never again occurs in Quebec.

Even if we escaped, we're doing this for Maureen, recalled Géhane Kamel.

The Sûreté du Québec agent from Victoriaville who received the complaint from Isaac Brouillard Lessard's uncle for death threats also testified.

Officer Dave Paquin redoubled his efforts to obtain information and the coroner n did not fail to emphasize its great rigor.

He said he consulted the Quebec Police Information Center where he learned that Isaac Brouillard Lessard was under an order from the CETM. Not knowing what the Commission was, he tried to contact the psychiatry department mentioned in the order, without obtaining a response. The police officer then said he contacted a consulting prosecutor to learn more.

Agent Paquin shared the information with the Louiseville police officers, whom he asked to make the arrest on the evening of March 27.

He remembers warning agent William Bérouard who was preparing to intervene. I repeated to him that [Isaac Brouillard Lessard] was dangerous, in psychosis and that he had to be careful. Officer Bérouard, who was injured during the intervention, will give his version of the facts on Wednesday at the coroner's inquest.

  • Marie-Ève ​​Trudel (View profile)Marie-Ève ​​TrudelSuivre
Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116