Gatineau man who fell to death needed help, neighbours say
Provincial police investigating death because Gatineau police were responding to call
Neighbours of a Gatineau man who fell to his death Saturday night say they made repeated attempts to get him help for his mental health issues, but that their pleas fell on deaf ears.
Jacques Blondin, 54, fell seven stories from the social housing apartment building on Mance Street as Gatineau police tried to get him to open the door to his apartment.
The Sûreté du Québec is investigating, as they do whenever there is a death and regional police officers are involved.
Blondin had lived in the building for many years, and his neighbours said he had a history of mental illness.
Francine Normand said the problem had recently grown worse.
"When he [took] his medication he was OK, he's a good man. But he didn't want to take his medication no more, I don't know why," said Normand.
Neighbours had tried to get help
Blondin's neighbours were working to get him help, particularly Helene Nadon.
She said about 120 residents at the apartment complex signed a petition asking the Gatineau housing authority to do more for Blondin.
The housing authority said it had no legal power to force Blondin to accept treatment, or to do anything else unless he harmed or threatened other tenants.
And residents said the only person Blondin ever harmed was himself.
Nadon's daughter Michelle said they called police on many occasions, most recently last week when Blondin was shouting that he would harm himself.
"And the cops say we can't do anything. We have to wait until something happens to help him," said Michelle Nadon. "And now, they're going to say they'll help him. There's nothing to do, he's dead."
Gatineau police would not comment on their dealings with the victim. The Sûreté du Québec said its investigations will look at all past interactions Gatineau police had with Blondin prior to his death.