Police shoot former hockey player dead during intervention in Beauce region

Quebec's police watchdog is investigating the death of Brandon Christian, a 47-year-old former professional hockey player shot by the Sûreté du Québec Sunday in the Beauce region.

Provincial police were called to the scene by Christian's ex-partner in Saint-Georges, according to the watchdog, known as the BEI.

The BEI said in a statement the man was armed with a bat and was acting aggressively.

Police tried to use pepper spray and a stun gun before shooting the man in the street, the statement said. He later died in hospital.

Richard Quirion, a neighbour, said he heard gunfire while watching the Super Bowl on television.

"We heard three or four shots," he said. "We went to look out the window and saw there were a lot of police."

Lengthy career

Christian's identity was confirmed by the BEI and by his former hockey team, Cool FM de Saint-Georges de Beauce.

"The Cool FM organization is saddened to learn of the death of Brandon Christian," the team, part of the Ligue Nord Americain du Hockey (LNAH), wrote on its Facebook page.

"Brandon was an important player in his own way in the history of the franchise."

Christian, originally from Burlington, Ont., and listed as 6-4" and 280 pounds, was a frequent fighter during a lengthy career in the minor leagues.

In 2005-06, he had 399 penalty minutes in 39 games in the LNAH.

9 BEI investigators assigned to case

The BEI investigates cases where civilians are seriously injured or killed in police operations.

Nine BEI investigators have been assigned to the case, with assistance from Quebec City police.

Saint-Georges is roughly 100 kilometres south of Quebec City.