SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Police in Scottsdale, Arizona say a 21-year-old man is accused of shooting and killing an off-duty Tempe Fire captain early Sunday morning.
The shooting happened around 2:30 a.m. in the area of Civic Center Plaza and Stetson Drive, east of the Scottsdale Fashion Square mall.
Police said 34-year-old Kyle Brayer was riding on the back of a golf cart with several others, headed southbound on Civic Center Plaza near Stetson.
The suspect, Hezron Parks, was allegedly driving a red Scion coupe and began bumping the golf cart. When Brayer exited the cart to approach the driver, he was shot in the head. Brayer, an off-duty Tempe Fire captain, died from his injuries.
Police said the suspect driver fled the scene eastbound on Stetson and then southbound on 75th Street, hitting several other cars.
One witness told Scripps station KNXV in Phoenix that his vehicle was clipped by what he believes to be the suspect's vehicle.
"I heard the shot, and I knew it was a gunshot," the witness said. "After that, I was kind of looking around to see if I could see anything."
"This red car split traffic - just kind of booked it out of there. So, I assume that was the car that the shot came from," the witness continued. "It hit my mirror. It didn't do any damage. It maybe clipped the front bumper a little bit, but then - the cars behind me got it worse."
The Tempe Fire Department released the following statement after learning of Brayer's death:
Thank you for your concern. As you might imagine we are trying to attend to many facets of this horrible tragedy. We are working on information regarding Captain Brayer's passing. We will contact you as soon as we have a solid plan.
Thank you for your understanding in this difficult time for us.
The Tempe City Council also took to their website Sunday to highlight Brayer's career.
It is with great sorrow that the Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Department announces the death of Captain Kyle Brayer, 34, a 10-year veteran with the department. The Scottsdale Police Department is investigating his death which took place early this morning in Scottsdale.
Brayer will be missed by his family of colleagues in the fire department and by the wider community of first responders in the Valley.
The members of the Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Department, the Mayor and Council of the City of Tempe, and City of Tempe employees offer their respect and sympathies to his surviving family, friends and colleagues.
"Kyle was an exceptional young man. He was very caring and passionate about his work and the Tempe community. The death of our brother is a tragedy," said Greg Ruiz, Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Chief. Brayer's is the second death of a Tempe firefighter within six months. Captain Frank Reed died in a swimming incident in Portugal in October 2017.
Brayer's most recent assignment was at Tempe Fire Station 6, 655 S. Ash, as a captain for Ladder 276 and the technical rescue team. Brayer began his career with Tempe Fire Medical Rescue after serving in the United States Marine Corps.
One highlight of his career was his involvement in launching Tempe's Veterans Telemedicine Program in 2016. The VTMP is an innovative program in partnership with the Phoenix Veterans Administration Hospital which provides in-home medical care to high-risk veterans living in Tempe. As a veteran, he was proud to bring this program to the people in the community who served the country.
Friends describe Brayer as a great overall man, a beautiful soul in and out, who changed the lives of many.
Brayer's LinkedIn shows he enlisted in the Marines in 2002.
He opened up Epic Fitness in 2004, according to the company website his hobbies included a lot of outdoor actives, including mountaineering, hiking, rock climbing, skydiving, hockey and traveling.
He got his associates from Mesa Community College in Fire Science and a BIS in Wellness Foundations and Public Administration and Management from ASU.
Brayer was a 10-year veteran of the Tempe Fire Department and helped launch a program known as Veterans' Telemedicine Program to help high-risk vets get in-home medical care.
His social media accounts show he loved to travel, and according to his company's website had visited 43 counties and 208 cities around the world as of 2016.
Police say Parks turned himself in around 12:15 p.m. Sunday after seeing reports by local media outlets. Parks was questioned by detectives and was taken into custody around 6 p.m.
He's being held on 2nd-degree murder charges.