Argument over restroom break between 2 Niagara police officers led to shooting: fiancée

The fiancée of a Niagara police officer shot by another police officer in 2018 says the incident was a misunderstanding that started with one officer having to use the washroom, and now the victim is being put on trial. 

Const. Nathan Parker, says his future bride, is 'very kind' and 'very loving'

Const. Nathan Parker, says his fiancee Dana Audet, is a quiet person, but "he's very kind." (Facebook)

The fiancée of a Niagara police officer shot by another police officer says the confrontation started over one officer having to use the washroom, and that the victim is being put on trial.

Dana Audet, the four-year partner of Const. Nathan Parker, says Parker was shot multiple times at a rural crossroads in Pelham, and has been traumatized and required multiple surgeries since.

A pre-trial started late in January for Parker, who is charged with resisting arrest, assaulting an officer and assault with a weapon during the altercation that led to Det.-Sgt. Shane Donovan shooting him.

The Crown has dropped the charges against Donovan. Parker's trial starts on Nov. 23.

Media coverage after the incident focused on Parker's multiple disciplinary cases, and what Parker's estranged brother described as anger issues. Audet says she's speaking out now to let people know the Parker she knows — a kind person and dedicated police officer.

Audet says Parker, a 30-year veteran of the force, was guarding a collision scene on Nov. 29, 2018 and had to use the restroom.

He radio'd for backup, she said, and for several minutes, no one answered. He left to find a restroom, and when he returned, Donovan was there and was angry. An argument ensued, she said, and Parker was shot multiple times, including once in the face.

Facing trial now, she said, adds to the trauma.

"Nathan has never missed a day of work in his life — ever," she said. "A snowstorm would be hitting and it would be hell outside, and he wouldn't miss work. He's a dedicated cop."

The case of Parker and Donovan has grabbed headlines since that frigid day in 2018.

The two were reconstructing the scene of a traffic collision in Pelham, which is about 20 kilometres west of Niagara Falls. Donovan was head of the collision reconstruction unit. Parker, who has faced multiple disciplinary hearings under the Police Services Act, was there to block traffic from entering the scene.

Det.-Sgt. Shane Donovan's lawyer says any aggression from her client was self defence. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

Audet said the two had a scuffle as a result of Parker using the restroom, and Parker was shot in the stomach, shoulder and leg, and another bullet grazed his nose.

Police and the Special Investigations Unit haven't released details about the confrontation between Donovan and Parker.

Asked for comment about Audet's description of the conflict, Niagara police said:  "As this incident remain before the courts, out of respect for the on-going judicial process and not wanting to interfere with Constable Nathan Parker's right to a fair and impartial trial, we are not in a position to comment on the circumstances surrounding the incident."

The Crown attorney dropped charges against Donovan of attempted murder, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon in November, saying there was no reasonable prospect of conviction. Joanne Mulcahy, Donovan's lawyer, said then that any aggression from Donovan was self-defence, and time will eventually show that. 

His actions, she said, were "fully necessary, fully justified and in defence of his life."

Audet said Parker has a different take on what happened that day, which will come out during the trial. But Parker was in critical condition after the shooting, she said, and is on long-term disability.

He has had a series of surgeries, including one on his leg two weeks ago, she said. He nearly died from internal bleeding, she said, and needed bowel reconstruction surgery.

She said while he was the one shot, he is also the one charged.

Parker is a father of three who loves fitness and animals, she said. The couple live in St. Catharines and have rescued pot bellied pigs.

Parker is reserved, she said, but "he's very kind. He's very loving. We have exotic animals and he loves his animals to death."


Samantha Craggs is journalist based in Windsor, Ont. She is executive producer of CBC Windsor and previously worked as a reporter and producer in Hamilton, specializing in politics and city hall. Follow her on Twitter at @SamCraggsCBC, or email her at samantha.craggs@cbc.ca