Relatives of a man who died on Friday after being zapped with a stun gun and tranquillised are angry at the way the situation was handled.

Ronnie Ghiller, 48, died on Friday night following an hours-long standoff with police.  An inquiry into the death is now under way. 

Relatives of Ghiller's say they had been calling the police for three days because the man was in a bad state of mental health.

His nephew Dylan Ghiller wrote on Facebook: “The [police] report was made to the Żabbar police station at least 20 times in three days to provide help because he was not in a good state of mental health. But they let the situation become really serious before turning up.”

The victim's sister, Sandra Ghiller, also vented her anger on Facebook where she wrote that he was "obsessed" with COVID-19. 

The incident happened in Triq Alessio Erardi, Żabbar, at around 7pm when police were alerted that Ghiller was throwing items at people on the street from the roof of a building.

In a statement, police said Ghiller was aggressive towards a doctor from the Paola Health Centre, was potentially armed and had locked himself in a room on the building's roof.

They said that when Ghiller emerged, he grew aggressive towards the doctor, went back upstairs and leapt towards a window.

Police said they were forced to restrain him by making use of a stun gun. The doctor subsequently administered an injection to calm the man. Ghiller was taken to Mater Dei Hospital at around 11pm and was pronounced dead a short while later. 

Sandra Ghiller wrote on social media that her brother was on the roof because he feared the coronavirus and the queue of people waiting to enter nearby shops stretched onto the pavement in front of his house.

Relatives said nobody at the scene had checked whether Ghiller was on any other medication before he was injected. Sandra Ghiller added that the only weapon he had was a broomstick and she could not see why 20 police officers had to turn up. She described him as a good man with a clean criminal record.

On Monday, TVM reported that the autopsy, carried out as part of the inquiry presided by Magistrate Yana Micallef Stafrace, established that Ghiller suffered a sudden heart seizure. Forensic experts still have to look into the results of toxicology exams.

Questions sent to police were not replied by the time of writing. 

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