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Police tape cordons off the scene after a Quebec provincial police officer was killed while trying to arrest a man in Louiseville, Que., on March 28.Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

The day Isaac Brouillard Lessard’s psychiatric issues first came to the attention of authorities began with him squabbling with his family, smoking pot, polishing off a bottle of wine and watching a Mafia movie.

Soon he was in an agitated state and claiming he was being persecuted by Calabrian mobsters. When police officers intervened, he swung a dumbbell at them. He was hospitalized, put in restraints and sedated.

That was Oct. 21, 2012. Months later, Mr. Brouillard Lessard threatened three relatives, but was found not criminally responsible because of his mental disorders. It was his first major brush with the law – the start of a decade of troubles that ended Monday with the stabbing death of provincial police Sergeant Maureen Breau in Louiseville, Que.

Louiseville Mayor Yvon Deshaies, who had spoken with police, told The Globe and Mail that Mr. Brouillard Lessard is the suspect in Sgt. Breau’s killing. The 35-year-old was shot dead by other officers.

Over the years, his frequent outbursts left a trail of mental-health review board decisions. Taken together, those records highlight the difficulties police, social services and family members face in dealing with people like Mr. Brouillard Lessard, who had a violent streak and mental-health issues, but was still given a chance to be released from a psychiatric facility where he was being held by court order.

Officials who assessed him were aware that he denied the severity of his problems. But as his condition improved they gradually eased the restrictions imposed on him so he could reintegrate into the community. He repeatedly neglected his treatment and relapsed.

“The accused still represents, because of his mental state, an important threat for public safety,” said the last decision, from February, 2022.

One psychiatrist described Mr. Brouillard Lessard, who lived in the Mauricie region, between Montreal and Quebec City, as an intelligent man. But he was not a diligent student. He skipped class and dropped out after Grade 9.

He got into fights at school and drank up to two litres of wine a day. He first smoked pot at 13. “He said he grew up around it and ‘it was cultural, especially since it’ll be legal soon,’” a 2016 board decision noted.

In January, 2013, Shawinigan police arrested him after he called his uncle’s family 27 times in a day, leaving death threats. He was found not criminally responsible and released on the condition that he abstain from drugs and submit to medical treatment. Mr. Brouillard Lessard was prescribed an antipsychotic that had to be injected, which was a challenge for him, because he worked planting trees and had to return to town for his shots.

In July, 2014, the review board began annual assessments of his release conditions. It ruled that he had to follow some additional restrictions, including that he inform his hospital of his address.

He kept playing down his problems, so the restrictions were maintained in 2015.

When his psychiatrist, David Olivier, saw him the next spring, Mr. Brouillard Lessard seemed to be in worse shape. He was living on welfare in a rooming house. He had a gambling habit. He wasn’t paying his bills and owed Visa $3,000. And he wasn’t getting along with his parents, landlady or neighbours.

He told Dr. Olivier his medications were impairing his erections, and that he took them only to placate the board.

In November, 2017, his condition worsened, landing him in a Shawinigan hospital. He got in a fight with two employees, grabbing a female orderly by the throat and hitting her on the head.

He was charged with assault and released, but things didn’t get better. In the spring of 2018, he stopped the injections. He was hospitalized again after he broke a window and waved a knife at neighbours.

On May 14, he threw a remote control at a hospital psychiatrist and spat on her face, because he wasn’t allowed to smoke. The following week, he flipped a desk on her and tried to pin her against a wall, spitting on her and threatening to strangle her.

He blamed some of his outbursts on having broken up with a girlfriend.

In July, 2018, the Court of Quebec ruled that he was not criminally responsible for the assaults at the hospital, and ordered him to Montreal’s Philippe-Pinel institute for forensic psychiatry.

There, he claimed he was being targeted by freemasons. He said doctors were misdiagnosing him in reprisal for his assault on the psychiatrist. But he agreed to be medicated again, though he griped that it made him “a vegetable.”

By 2019, his attitude had changed. He went on supervised outings without a hitch. At year’s end, he moved to a group home. Then, in September, 2020, he was allowed to live on his own again. He was 32, single with no children.

He began working at his mother’s greenhouse. In January, 2021, the board updated his conditions. They were the same as as they had been seven years earlier: he had to notify his hospital of his address, submit to medical treatment, abstain from drugs, keep the peace.

Within months, he unravelled again. He quit his job and moved. He was no longer talking to his parents, claiming they wanted him back in hospital.

He was hired by a restaurant, but quickly fired. In November, he said he had been defrauded by his landlord in Trois-Rivières. After scuffling with the building’s janitor, he pleaded guilty to assault and was sentenced to community work.

He ended up in shelters, but was kicked out because he quarrelled with other residents. He stopped taking his medications. His parents paid for him to stay in a motel.

When the board last reviewed his case, in February, 2022, it heard that he was “in fragile clinical shape,” with no job or housing prospects.

In its decision, the board acknowledged there were “many risk factors” in his situation. “The board has, on the one hand, to ensure the safety of the public, and on the other hand to facilitate the accused’s social reintegration.”

The board said “the risk could be adequately controlled” if he was monitored and supervised. It allowed him to remain in the community under the same restrictions, but with additional constraints: His place of residence had to be approved by a hospital, and he had to submit to drug tests when required.

Four months ago, he moved to a rooming house in Louiseville, west of Trois-Rivières, where he gained a reputation as a quarrelsome tenant. It was there, after someone called in a complaint that he was making threats, that he had his fatal encounter with Sgt. Breau.

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