Family and friends of Calvin McLean carried a photo of the 43-year-old man as they came to a Regina inquest into his death in search of answers Monday.

McLean suffered a fatal heart attack while being arrested by Regina police in October 2008.

According to police, McLean had led officers on a lengthy foot chase through the city's General Hospital neighbourhood before he was tackled and subdued with two rounds of pepper spray.

The family questions the level of force police used.

"I can't really put myself in their shoes," said McLean's wife Andrea. "But how they could have handled it differently is maybe approaching him in a different way."

The inquest heard police were responding to a call of a man with an axe. McLean was not armed when he was arrested.

Those close to him say at the time of the incident, he was distraught that charges had been dropped against a man accused of victimizing a member of McLean's family.

"He wasn't going over there to chop (the accused man's) head off with an axe or any of that sort of thing," said McLean's friend David Jones.

"Calvin was the most gentle man you could imagine…he never hurt a fly."

Jones believes McLean was simply seeking a confession from the man.

The inquest is scheduled to resume today and run until Friday.

Based on a report by Wayne Mantyka, CTV Regina