US Authorities say a man has been arrested in the slaying of an off-duty Tempe Fire Department captain.
Scottsdale police Sunday evening arrested a 21-year-old man they say fatally shot a Tempe fire captain several hours earlier.
Hezron Parks faces second-degree murder charges in the death of 34-year-old Kyle Brayer, police said.
Brayer was riding in the back of a golf cart with a few others in downtown Scottsdale about 2:30 a.m., heading south on Civic Center Plaza, according to Sgt. Ben Hoster, a Scottsdale police spokesman.
Hoster said the group was approaching Stetson Drive when a man driving a red Scion TC coupe began driving behind the golf cart and bumping the rear of it.
Brayer got off the cart and approached the Scion driver, later identified as Parks, Hoster said.
Parks shot Brayer in the head before fleeing east on Stetson and south on 75th Street, hitting other cars along the way, according to police. Brayer was taken to a hospital, where he died.
Police said Parks turned himself in “after seeing reports and vehicle descriptions on local media channels.”
‘An exceptional young man’
The Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Department called Brayer’s death a “horrible tragedy” in a statement Sunday, saying he would “be missed by his family of colleagues in the fire department and by the wider community of first responders in the Valley.”
Among other accomplishments during his 10 years with the department, Brayer started Tempe’s Veterans Telemedicine Program in 2016. The program provides in-home medical care to high-risk veterans living in Tempe through a partnership with the Phoenix Veterans Administration hospital.
“Kyle was an exceptional young man,” Tempe Fire Chief Greg Ruiz said. “He was very caring and passionate about his work and the Tempe community.”
Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell also expressed his condolences to those who knew Brayer in a Facebook post.
“The City of Tempe lost one of our own today,” he wrote. “Fire Captain Kyle Brayer was a valued member of our Fire Medical Rescue Team and my thoughts go out to his family, friends and fellow firefighters.”
Brayer was a standout hockey player before he joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 2002, according to his Linkedin profile. In a 2011 article on Arizona State University’s website, he said he’d “wanted to be a Marine since I was 10 years old.”
“My family was very patriotic,” said Brayer, an ASU junior at the time. “We flew the flag every day, and my grandfather was a decorated World War II veteran who was regional director of the American Legion in Arizona.”
The article said Brayer was stationed in Iraq for nine months, building bombs and rockets. During his time in the military, he helped provide humanitarian aid in the Philippines, the report said.
After his first deployment in 2004, Brayer opened a business called Epic Fitness in La Jolla, Calif., which grew from only two employees to 14 trainers, coaches, nutritionists and yoga instructors, according to the company’s website.
Brayer in 2006 moved the company to Tempe, where it provided on-site personal training to Phoenix and East Valley residents, the website said. His Linkedin profile indicates he also taught a course at Mesa Community College on firefighter fitness and conditioning.
“He was the total package,” said Josh Reynolds, a friend of Brayer’s who played hockey with him in the 2011 World Police and Fire Games in New York. “He was successful at everything he did and will be missed by all.”
‘A senseless act of violence’
Other friends and colleagues mourned Brayer’s death on social media Sunday.
“Our brother Kyle Brayer was taken from us last night,” wrote Nick Ells, whose Facebook page identifies him as a Tempe captain and paramedic.
Ells described the described the shooting as “a senseless act of violence I will never understand” and requested prayers for Brayer’s family.
“My heart is heavy today for the Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Department today,” a woman named Heather Suess wrote on Facebook. “They lost another great one. And way, way too young.”
Brayer’s death comes four months after the death of another Tempe fire captain. Frank Reed died in October in a swimming accident while vacationing in Portugal.