Hamilton

Niagara officer charged with attempted murder in shooting of fellow officer

A Niagara-area police officer has been charged with attempted murder, after another officer was shot at a rural crossroads in November.

Det.-Sgt. Shane Donovan also faces charges of aggravated assault and assault

A Niagara-area police officer has been charged with attempted murder in the Nov. 29, 2018 shooting of another officer. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

A Niagara-area police officer has been charged with attempted murder, after another officer was shot at a rural crossroads in November.

Det.-Sgt. Shane Donovan of the Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) also faces charges of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.

Ontario's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) laid the charges Thursday, four months after a puzzling and high-profile shooting in rural Pelham, Ont., a community about 20 kilometres west of Niagara Falls. 

Donovan and Const. Nathan Parker were among a group of officers who, on Nov. 29, 2018, were investigating a collision from a few days before, around Roland Road and Effingham Street. 

Donovan, who headed up the collision reconstruction unit, is alleged to have fired his weapon multiple times. Parker, 52, was seriously injured and airlifted to Hamilton General Hospital, the SIU said.

The reason for the shooting is still unclear. 

Const. Nathan Parker, right, was seriously injured in the shooting and airlifted to Hamilton General Hospital. (Facebook)

Parker is a 28-year veteran of the force, according to the NRPS. In that time, he has reportedly faced multiple disciplinary hearings under the Police Services Act.

According to local media, including the St. Catharines Standard and the Welland Tribune, he pleaded guilty in 2015 to discreditable conduct and unnecessary use of force against a prisoner and was docked 120 hours pay. 

Bill Fordy, acting NRPS chief, said he's not aware of any disciplinary issues with Donovan. At one point during a media briefing Thursday, he simply called him "Shane."

The shooting has been traumatic, he said.

"This morning, no different than in November, police officers get up across the country and they go to work with a view of serving their communities," he said. "Their hope is at the end of the day they go home to their families — to coach hockey, or basketball, or to deal with their family. Nobody prepares for an incident like this."

Donovan was suspended Thursday with pay. Parker is still off work and recovering from his injuries.

Bill Fordy, acting Niagara Region Police chief, says the force is co-operating with investigators. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

Fordy wouldn't comment on Parker's past disciplinary issues, and didn't say his name. The force hadn't identified either officer until Thursday. 

"Out of respect for the officers involved and to honour the integrity of this process, at no time … have we ever publicly named the involved officers," he said. 

"We want our entire service to heal and recover."

Donovan is set to appear before a St. Catharines court on April 18, the SIU said. 

The SIU investigates whenever there are reports involving police where there has been a death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. The Ontario Provincial Police is also investigating.