A Pennsylvania fire captain has been arrested in connection to the fatal shooting of a teenage volunteer firefighter who died after being shot in the face, authorities said.
Republic Volunteer Fire Company Captain George Matis, 21, allegedly shot Parker Hess, 16, as the pair prepared for a community light parade in the fire station’s business office Sunday, Pennsylvania State Police told KDKA-TV.
One shot was fired, which struck Hess in the face, police said.
Matis had a valid permit for the 9mm handgun issued to him out of Fayette County, police said.
Hess died at the scene after 4 p.m.
His body was reportedly removed from the scene at about 11:30 p.m., with a procession following as an ambulance carrying Hess left the station.
“May God Bless the Hess Family,” the company wrote on Facebook. “Truly a great man taken way too soon.”
A volunteer junior firefighter with aspirations to one day serve in the FDNY, Hess had just saved up $500 to purchase his own official firefighter’s helmet, family members told WPXI.
“Parker is a proud brother of a great cause to which he was one of our own,” the company continued on Facebook. “Surely he will be missed. Parker added the youthful touch to an aging department. Eager to learn, without hesitation. So respectful and most warm hearted as you could get. RVFC will without a doubt miss him.
"He became a member of our family. We can never explain reasons things happen sometimes. And more importantly this time," the statement said. "Our only hope is that God’s plans were more important than ours. Rest in peace Parker.”
Investigators were trying to determine if the shooting was an accident or intentional.
While there was one other person in the fire station at the time of the shooting, Hess and Matis were alone in the office.
Matis was charged with criminal homicide and reckless endangerment. He was booked into Fayette County Jail Sunday, where he is being held without bail.
He is scheduled to appear in court on December 7.