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Lawyer says shooting of junior firefighter by captain was a ‘terrible accident’

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Republic Volunteer Fire Department Captain George Matis Jr.

James Davis, the attorney for Republic Volunteer Fire Company Captain George’s Matis Jr. says the shooting death of a junior firefighter at the Pennsylvania firehouse Sunday was a “terrible accident.”

Davis told the Associated Press that Matis is distraught. He said Matis and victim Parker Hess were friends.

Matis is currently in jail on charges of criminal homicide and reckless endangerment.

Previous coverage of this story here & here

AP via WTAE-TV:

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Junior Firefighter Parker Hess

Hess was shot when Matis removed his legally owned gun from a holster and it fired, striking Hess in the cheek, state police said in a criminal complaint. Investigators haven’t said whether the shooting was accidental, but Davis believes it was.

“Mr. Matis is distraught over all this,” Davis told The Associated Press. “This is a horrific incident and of course it’s our position that this was just a terrible accident.”

The homicide charge Matis faces allows prosecutors to pursue a murder conviction, but also voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, which occurs when a shooting was reckless or grossly negligent. Davis said he expects the case will be prosecuted under a manslaughter statute, but didn’t want to presume anything.

Arrangement for Parker Hess from the Republic Volunteer Fire Company:

Friends will be received in the Robert T Kish Funeral Home. 1 legion. St, Republic PA.
Thursday from 2:00 to 8:00. FF service at 8pm.

And Friday in the First Christian Church of New Salem 800 New Salem rd. Uniontown Pa. From 10am to 11am.

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