The Dene Clearwater First Nation is located near La Loche, Sask.

A week-long coroner's inquest into the death of a northern Saskatchewan man shot and killed by RCMP began Monday in the city of Meadow Lake.

Harry Haineault, 38, died after a struggle with police who had been called to a home on the Clearwater River Dene Nation.

Const. Jamie Grant testified he confronted Haineault in a wooded area behind the home where police found him.

Grant was waiting in the woods because Haineault was known as a runner, the inquest was told.

The two struggled to the point where Grant pepper-sprayed him, however the noxious spray had no effect.

"I told him 'Stop resisting. Harry what are you doing?' I didn't know what was going on," Grant told the inquest.

Grant said Haineault managed to get him into a headlock and was choking him. He said he felt "the fear of death setting in" and that's when he shot Haineault.

"I panicked. I didn't know what to do," Grant said.

RCMP said Grant and his partner, Ryan Boogaard, did not have Taser stun-guns with them at the time.

After the shooting, Grant was asked if Haineault was dead.

"I think he is," Grant said. 

A coroner's jury of four women and two men will hear testimony from 17 witnesses throughout the week.

The jury can make recommendations to prevent similar deaths in the future.