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Man guilty of 2nd-degree murder in shooting of Tempe fire captain

Kyle Brayer (City of Tempe Photo)

PHOENIX – A jury convicted a man of second-degree murder Wednesday for fatally shooting an off-duty Tempe Fire Department captain during an altercation in Scottsdale last year.

Hezron Parks was also found guilty on 13 other counts related to the death of 34-year-old Kyle Brayer.

“We still grieve for Kyle but hope to find peace through our memories of him and our continued support of his family,” Tempe Fire Chief Greg Ruiz said in a statement issued after the verdict was read.

“While we know the verdict will not bring Kyle back, we feel justice has been served.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM legal expert Monica Lindstrom said the murder conviction comes with a base sentence of 16 years, but that can change depending on factors surrounding the case.

“This can be reduced to a minimum of 10 years or increased to 25,” she said.

The jury found aggravating factors in the case Thursday, and sentencing was scheduled for Aug. 30.

Parks, of Belize, acknowledged firing his gun after being approached by Brayer in the early morning of Feb. 4, 2018, but he said he was provoked and did so in self-defense.

Parks, who was 21 one at the time of the shooting, said he didn’t know he’d hit Brayer until seeing media reports about it. He turned himself in later that day.

The incident occurred about 2:30 a.m. in the area of Stetson Drive and Civic Center Plaza in Old Town Scottsdale. It was the weekend of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and the streets were crowded despite the late hour.

Police at the time said Brayer had been riding on the back of a golf cart when Parks nearly rear-ended the cart several times with his Scion coupe.

Brayer then exited the cart, approached Parks and was shot in the head. He died after being taken to a hospital.

Parks told police that he felt threatened by Brayer. He also believed the gun was unloaded when he pulled the trigger, as he did not usually keep the weapon loaded, police said.

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