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Portsmouth firefighter shot while responding to call; alleged shooter in custody

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Posted at 10:48 PM, Jun 28, 2021

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - A Portsmouth firefighter is in the hospital after being shot while units were responding to a call about downed wires in the 600 block of Surry Street Monday night.

Units with Portsmouth Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services responded to the downed wires call around 9:11 p.m. Upon arrival, a suspect began firing shots.

One firefighter was taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. Deputy Fire Chief Justin Arnold said the firefighter has been stabilized. He has since been released from the hospital, according to officials.

Another person who is not a firefighter was also shot and taken to the hospital for treatment.

Fire officials say the alleged shooter was taken into custody by Portsmouth Police. Detectives charged 44-year-old Donald Parker of Portsmouth with two counts of aggravated malicious wounding, two counts of use of a firearm, firearm by a convicted felon and reckless handling of a firearm.

He is being held at the Portsmouth City Jail. Police say he is an eight-time convicted felon and was out on bond for a firearm by felon charge made in August 2020.

A neighbor described the chaos.

"Josh kind of curled up, and then he shot him again. You know, I was running at that point," said neighbor Raven Hedricks. "I thought my best friend was dead! I was screaming. My daughter was screaming, and it's really affected all of us, you know? I’m just glad that my best friend is okay."

On Tuesday night, News 3 spoke to two people who didn't want to go on camera. One man, a former volunteer firefighter, told us he heard four gunshots and turned on the police scanner to hear, "Firefighter down."

Both men were taken to Sentara Norfolk and both are expected to recover.

According to records, Parker is expected to have a preliminary hearing on August 6 in relation to Tuesday night's incident. He is also scheduled to be in court June 30 on previous charges.

Portsmouth's International Association of Firefighters released the following statement on the incident:

Stay with News 3 for updates.