01/14/2015 06:27 EST | Updated 03/16/2015 05:59 EDT

Coroner’s inquest into Alain Magloire police shooting hears conflicting testimony

A Quebec coroner heard conflicting testimony today as a police officer and a city worker testified at the inquiry into the fatal police shooting of AlainMagloire, a Montreal homeless man who suffered from mental illness.

A police officer involved in the altercation last February, Pascal Joly, told the coroner that police were dealing with an aggressive man and they feared for their lives.

Joly recounted how he intervened at the scene last winter outside the Berri bus station in the minutes before Magloire was shot.

Joly said he and his partner Mathieu Brassard arrived on site after their colleagues called for back-up to help control an aggressive man armed with a hammer..

Joly said he used all his equipment to try to neutralize the 41-year-old man.

Joly said when he got within six feet of Magloire, he tried to subdue him with pepper spray, but the wind was too strong.

He also tried using his police baton to intervene, but that he didn’t feel safe doing so.

"It was too dangerous. I would have had to approach closer to him and he was too aggressive.”

So Joly, who was the only officer at the scene who did not draw his gun, said he put away his baton.

That’s when he saw another police car approaching.

Joly said the cruiser was almost stopped, travelling at about five kilometres an hour, when it struck Magloire, who jumped on the hood.

Joly said he then tried to grab Magloire but lost his footing. As he fell, he said Magloire swung the hammer to hit him.

“I knew that my life was in danger. I had the sense to turn away and protect my head from a potential hammer blow."

That’s when Joly heard gunshots. He said that when he looked up, he saw Magloire on the ground.

Witness describes Magloire as calm

Joly is the third police officer involved in the altercation to testify at the inquest so far.

All three have told coroner Luc Malouin that the mentally-ill father of two acted aggressively, that he refused to drop his weapon.

But a different version emerged from another witness who took the stand Wednesday — city worker Guy Miqueu.

Miqueu said he was working across the street when he saw Magloire walking by, followed by a group of police officers yelling at him to drop his hammer.

Miqueu walked over to Magloire and said he tried to negotiate with him to put down the hammer and reminded him that the police officers were armed.

“Magloire raised his arms — but more in a shrug, not in an aggressive way —  to say “I don’t care if they shoot me,” Miqueu said, adding that he was about 10 feet away from Magloire.

He said Magloire appeared calm, and didn’t seem aggressive —  just more like he was “in his own world.”

The inquiry will continue Thursday. Mathieu Brassard, the officer who shot Maglore, is expected to testify.