Two separate investigations are underway into “an altercation” between two Niagara regional police officers that sent one of them to hospital with a gunshot wound.
The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) and the provincial police are investigating the Thursday afternoon incident in Pelham, about 20 kilometres west of Niagara Falls.
According to SIU spokesperson Monica Hudon, there was an altercation around noon between two Niagara Regional Police officers and one of them sustained a gunshot wound.
The 52-year-old officer – with 28 years of experience on the force – was taken to a hospital in St. Catharines before being transported to a trauma centre in Hamilton via Ornge air ambulance.
The officer was taken to hospital in critical condition, but Niagara police say he is now in stable condition. He was discharged from hospital the week of December 10.
“In the spirit of transparency, I have asked the Ontario Provincial Police to determine if there is any criminal culpability outside of the SIU’s scope,” Niagara regional police Chief Bryan MacCulloch said in the statement.
“The days and weeks ahead will be trying ones for the NRPS family and the community we serve,” MacCulloch said. “I ask for your support for our members and all those involved.”
No arrests have been made at this time.
The region’s police services board said in a statement that it was “deeply concerned” by the shooting, but that it couldn’t comment further until the SIU had completed its probe.
Local residents said the incident prompted a rush of squad cars racing to the scene in the early afternoon.
Robin Zavitz, who lives in the area, said she was driving home around 1:30 p.m. when she came across a police blockade. She said she could see a police SUV in the ditch and numerous squad cars nearby.
“The police car is head first in the ditch and there doesn’t appear to be any damage to it,” Zavitz said. “It’s scary when a police officer has been shot in the middle of the day.”
Zavitz said a police car had been blocking the road at the same intersection all morning, but added the flurry of police activity didn’t occur until the early afternoon.
Niagara region police had tweeted earlier on Thursday that the road would be partially closed for an investigation.
The SIU is an arm’s length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault.
This is a corrected story. A previous version incorrectly identified the age of the injured officer as 44.