Ex blamed for police visit

Family claims man shot dead by cop had been harassed for months


June 30, 2008

David LeClair, 32, was shot dead on Saturday by a police officer who was reportedly responding to abuse allegations from his ex-girlfriend. LeClair's family says the woman had been harassing him for months with phone calls and unexpected visits.

Family members of a Gatineau man who was fatally shot by a police officer Saturday claimed his ex-girlfriend had been harassing him for months until he asked police to intervene.

David LeClair dated the woman on and off for about four months, and the couple were engaged at Christmas.

But the relationship went sour, the engagement called off, and things spiralled downhill from there.

LeClair's mother Dorothy said her son had called police on his ex-girlfriend.

"It's a love affair that went bad, but it didn't have to go this far," she said, alleging that her son's former fiancee had been harassing him with phone calls and unexpected visits.

Repeated attempts by the Sun to contact LeClair's ex-girlfriend by phone yesterday were not successful.

When a lone police officer arrived at LeClair's home at 16 Conroy St. in Aylmer in mid-morning Saturday, family say it was in response to abuse allegations from his ex.


"David thought it was a joke," said Dorothy.

"Everybody thought it was a joke. David thought the officer was joking, he didn't know it was his death," said LeClair's sister, Diane.

According to witnesses, the officer followed LeClair inside his home, beat him with a club and pepper sprayed his eyes, threatening to shoot LeClair's brother Robert and 73-year-old mother Dorothy if they intervened.

"He came in like a madman out of hell ... very aggressive," said Dorothy.

Once outside, the officer ordered LeClair to lie face down on the pavement.

When he didn't comply, he was shot twice through the stomach and once in the arm from close range.

His 10-year-old nephew Alex was seated in the passenger seat of a pickup truck metres away from the shooting.

"He was so scared, he put his hands up as if the cop was going to shoot him too. He's traumatized," said Diane.

The police investigation has been turned over to the provincial Surete du Quebec, who remained tight-lipped about case details.


"The investigation is ongoing, and any information will be turned over to the Crown," said Sgt. Marc Butz, who added the unidentified officer who shot LeClair is being counselled for shock.

"I know he was in shock," said witness and neighbour Robert Pombert.

"After he shot Dave he just stood there. He didn't try to help him, he didn't try to revive him. Nothing. I asked him four times if he called the ambulance, but the first cars to arrive were all cops. We had to wait ten minutes for the ambulance, but it sure felt like longer."

LeClair was well-known to Aylmer cops, having faced a number of charges in the past.

In February 2007, he pleaded guilty and was handed an 11-month sentence for fraud. Separate fraud and assault charges from 2006 were stayed, and he was also due to appear in court this summer on theft and fraud charges.

"A lot of Aylmer cops knew him as a joker guy," said Robert LeClair, who ran a roofing business with his brother. "But they also know if he gets pissed off, he gets pissed off."

"I can't understand why that officer would go in (to the house) alone without a warrant in the first place," said LeClair's brother-in-law Pete Lachapelle.

"If David was running after the cop with an axe or a knife, then maybe, but he was unarmed. One shot, that's too much, but three -- that's gun crazy."

David, 32, the "baby" of a family of nine children, leaves behind his only daughter Britney, 9.

"We're all here for Britney," said her mom Cindy Brisson, who lost custody of her daughter to LeClair several years ago. "She knows that her dad's not coming back."