PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A Portsmouth firefighter was shot and injured Monday night while responding to a call on Surry Street, after firefighters say an unrelated fight between neighbors broke out.
Another person, a civilian, was also shot, according to the Portsmouth Fire Department.
Police have arrested 44-year-old Donald Parker, of Portsmouth. The eight-time convicted felon was out on bond for a firearm by felon charge taken out on Aug. 30, 2020, police said.
He’s been charged with two counts of aggravated malicious wounding, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and reckless handling of a firearm. He’s being held at the Portsmouth City Jail.
Fire officials said emergency crews were first dispatched to Surry Street for a report of wires down around 9:10 p.m.
When they arrived, a firefighter in his mid-30s was shot. He was taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in stable condition, according to fire officials. The second person who was shot was also taken to a hospital Monday night.
Fire officials said early Tuesday the firefighter could be released the same morning. The family confirmed with 10 On Your Side that he had been released and was home resting. He was shot in the arm.
Much of Surry Street was blocked off as police investigated Monday night. WAVY’s Brett Hall spoke to a woman who said she is the sister of the civilian who was shot. She did not want to identify herself.
She said a tree fell and took down a wire at her father and brother’s home around 9 p.m. She said they called the fire department.
An argument ended up breaking out and Parker opened fire, police believe, injuring both the firefighter and the civilian.
Another witness, Mike Kupiec, told 10 On Your Side that the downed power line was blocking the road when Parker and his wife pulled up in a car. They were unable to cross under the power line, and the firefighter told them not to.
Kupiec said that fight then started between the neighbors. One woman flicked a cigarette in a man’s face, then her husband got involved. There were punches thrown as Kupiec tried to break them up.
Parker fell to the ground then allegedly starting firing shots, Kupiec recounted.
The firefighter also attempted to break up the fight. That’s when he was shot.
Another resident, who didn’t want to be identified, said the firefighter ran to the back of a house to try to get out of the way and to a safer location.
They said he was bleeding “horribly.” He was bleeding horribly.
Residents said Parker was immediately arrested.
“They handcuffed him right away. He didn’t try to run or anything. He just sat on his porch like if he didn’t do anything wrong — it was just weird,” the neighbor said.
10 On Your Side also learned there were issues with Parker and others in the neighborhood since Parker moved in last October. Restraining orders have been taken out against Parker, and a court date for alleged property destruction by Parker was scheduled for Wednesday.
The local firefighters union released a statement on Tuesday that said in part: “This incident highlights the danger our members face every day when they put on their uniform and respond to calls. We ask that the Portsmouth community continue to pray for our injured firefighter and their family, as well as all our public safety officers who were working and involved in this very difficult incident.”
The Portsmouth Fire Department said it was assisted by the Chesapeake and Norfolk fire departments, which both sent apparatus to backfill stations affected by the incident. Norfolk police also helped with staging and security at the hospital.