MONTREAL -- One man is dead after an altercation between police officers and a man in a rooming house in downtown Montreal late Monday afternoon.

Police showed up at the residence on St. Andre St. near Ontario St. after receiving phone calls about a woman who was losing consciousness.

When two officers arrived at the scene a group of people in the rooming house became very aggressive, according to Montreal police Const. Simon Delorme.

Police say a man attacked them, and they responded with a Taser, pepper spray and their batons before finally dragging the man to the ground.

Former resident Denis Blouin said police tried everything at their disposal before using the Taser gun.

"The only thing that worked was when they used the Taser gun," he said. The gun is supposed to temporarily neutralize an aggressive person, but the man never recovered.

Donald Menard, 41, was taken to hospital in serious condition and later died.

Four police officers received minor injuries in the incident.

Menard did not live in the rooming house, and had in fact recently gone missing from the Pinel Psychiatric Institute. Witnesses said he was "very, very high" when police arrived.

The witnesses also told CTV Montreal that police did everything they could to subdue the man and were obviously trying to use every non-lethal means at their disposal.

"Police did everything they could, and there was nothing else they could do. They weren't going to make him submit by shooting bullets in a rooming house. The only way they were going to get him under control was a Taser gun," said Blouin.

He said the situation cause plenty of frayed nerves.

"You went into your room and you didn't come out," said Blouin.



Taser deaths rare

In October 2007 in Montreal, 39-year-old Quilem Registre died after being Tasered.

A coroner's report found that had the police been better trained, they could have subdued him without using a stun gun.

“The Taser should be the very, very last resort in the very smallest amount of cases. There are other ways to handle cases,” said city councilor Marvin Rotrand.

Statistics show Montreal police don't use their Taser guns as much as police in other large cities; they were fired 29 times in the past two years combined.

In this latest case, even some people living in the rooming house believe police had no choice but to use the Taser.

“They weren't going to fire bullets in a rooming house,” said Blouin.

The Surete du Quebec is now investigating the death. A coroner’s report is expected to determine whether or not the Taser gun was used properly in the latest incident.