UPDATE: 11:50 a.m.
The three Trail firefighters who’ve been charged with assaulting a homeless man have been removed from their duties for the time being.
In a statement, Regional District of Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Chief Dan Derby says “the firefighters are absent from the workplace at this time” and they “will not be responding to calls at this time.”
It’s not clear if this means they are suspended or if they continue to be paid.
Gregory Ferraby, Richard Morris and Wesley (Mike) Parsons were charged Wednesday with assault causing bodily harm, while Ferraby was also charged with uttering threats.
The charges stem from an alleged attack on a homeless man in Trail back in April.
“Public safety is at the heart of everything we do. We are saddened and disturbed by these charges and the allegations. The RDKB does not condone this type of conduct, on- or off-duty,” Derby said.
“I can assure the public that the RDKB is taking these allegations seriously and is conducting our own internal investigation into the matters. We are committed to due process. Due to privacy law, I am unable to comment further on this front.”
Ferraby is listed on the RDKB website as a captain with the Trail Fire Department.
A court date has yet to be set in the matter.
ORIGINAL: 9:50 a.m.
Three firefighters have been charged with assaulting a homeless man in Trail last April.
On Wednesday, Gregory Ferraby, Richard Morris and Wesley (Mike) Parsons were formally charged with assault causing bodily harm, stemming from an alleged incident on April 23, 2023. Ferraby was also charged with uttering threats, which is alleged to have occurred ten days prior.
Police have been investigating the incident for the past seven months. In a brief press release issued back on April 25, the Trail RCMP said they were investigating reports that a 49-year-old man was assaulted by three men in an alley on the 900 block of Trail's Spokane Street.
“The man said he was assaulted by 52-year-old Trail man and two accomplices when he was taking his garbage out to the dumpster in the alley,” the RCMP said. “The man was allegedly punched in the head several times, may have lost consciousness, and had a serious shoulder injury. The man was transported for medical treatment to the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital.”
Police said a 52-year-old man, believed to be Ferraby, was arrested at the time, while the other two men had yet to be identified. But seven months later, the BC Prosecution Service has now filed the charges against Ferraby, Morris and Parsons.
According to the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary website, Ferraby is a captain with the Trail Fire Department while Morris is a firefighter. Parsons is not listed on the website.
Castanet reached out to Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue regional fire chief Daniel Derby and the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary media contact Friday for information about the three firefighters' employment status, but neither have provided comment on the matter by publication time.
A family member of the alleged victim expressed her disgust with the situation.
“These are people in positions of trust, they are who you look to when you need help, without prejudice," she said. "And the fact that they're beating the s**t out of a homeless guy and then fleeing the scene when police are around the corner ... that's the part that's most difficult. There's no accountability, there's no remorse.”
Court dates have yet to be set in the matter.