A Canadian police officer who fired at least 10 shots at a fellow officer during a 2018 altercation says, "It was either me or him." Though Niagara Regional Police Det. Sgt. Shane Donovan was the one to open fire, it's Constable Nathan Parker who's on trial this week in Hamilton, Ont., on charges of assaulting a police officer, assault with a weapon, and resisting arrest. Donovan began his testimony Tuesday, saying Parker attacked him at the scene of a car accident on the first day they met, Nov. 29, 2018, per the CBC. Parker had been monitoring a road barricade but left to use the restroom.
When he returned, Donovan said he told Parker not to leave again. Parker became "loud" and "aggressive" before exiting his vehicle and shoving Donovan with both hands, according to testimony. He "pushed me back quite a few steps—and I was shocked," Donovan said. He said he told Parker he was under arrest for assault, but the larger man threw a "haymaker" punch. Donovan said he retreated to his own cruiser but was followed by Parker, who kept swinging, then pulled out his baton.
"My belief was that my life was in danger," Donovan said, noting he then pulled out his service weapon and Parker responded likewise. "I knew if he got the firearm up on me, then he would kill me—and it was either me or him," he said. "So I fired my gun until he dropped his gun." It was the first time he'd ever drawn his weapon, he said, per the Guardian. Parker, some 10 feet away, suffered 10 gunshot wounds, including one through his cheek and nose, per the CBC. Donovan then called for an ambulance.
Donovan initially faced charges including attempted murder, but they were later dropped. Defense attorney Joseph Markson on Wednesday suggested Donovan was prejudiced against Parker from the start. He read statements in which Donovan described Parker as a "bully" and "aggressor" with a "violent past with the Niagara Regional Police," per the CBC. Donovan said he wasn't prejudiced but confirmed he'd heard from other officers that Parker was associated with bodybuilding and steroids, per Global News. The judge-only trial continues. Parker has pleaded not guilty. He and Donovan remain employed. (Read more police shooting stories.)