Trial starts for man accused of killing off-duty Tempe Fire Captain Kyle Brayer

Image 1 of 3

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- Dozens of Tempe firefighters show up at court Monday to support the family of a fallen brother.

Fire Captain Kyle Brayer was shot and killed in 2018 in Old Town Scottsdale, and the confessed shooter is on trial for murder.

Hezron Parks, 22, is on trial for 14 charges, including second-degree murder. Parks admitted to police that he was the one who shot Cpt. Brayer. Prosecutors paint Parks as a violent, and angry man who murdered a local hero. The defense, however, said it was Cpt. Brayer who was drunk and being aggressive and that Parks fired his gun in self-defense.

On Monday, the courtroom was filled with family and friends of Brayer. Outside of court, dozens of firefighters gathered in solidarity.

"He is part of our family. We're going to stand by him and his family for the rest of their lives," said Tempe firefighter Don Jongewaard.

In opening statements, the prosecutor detailed a weekend of revelry. Cpt. Brayer and his friends attended the Waste Management Open, then went to Old Town Scottsdale that night. The group of seven piled into a golf cart, with three people sat in the rear-facing back seat along with Cpt. Brayer. The prosecutor claims Parks was driving his car, tailgating the golf cart, revving his engine several times as they were stuck in traffic. Cpt. Brayer got off the cart and walked toward. Parks had a gun and fired a single shot.

Tears flowed as a graphic photo of Cpt. Brayer, post mortem, was displayed, showing where the bullet entered his head.

The defense, however, proclaimed Cpt. Brayer and his group were extremely intoxicated. One eyewitness even admitted to being high on cocaine. Cpt. Brayer was painted as the aggressor, as his blood alcohol level was .17, more than twice the legal limit. Parks was sober.

The defense claims Cpt. Brayer was antagonizing parks, kicking the hood of the car. When he started walking toward him, Parks' attorney said he got scared and shot Cpt. Brayer in self-defense. The defense also pointed out that Parks has dual citizenship, but he didn't leave the country after the shooting. Instead, he turned himself into police.

Parks is expected to testify in his own defense.