Defense: Deadly shooting at Pa. fire station a ‘terrible accident’

Pennsylvania State Police say the 16-year-old was shot when the fire captain removed his gun from a holster and it fired, striking the teen in the cheek

GRINDSTONE, Pa. (AP) – The defense attorney for a 21-year-old fire captain charged with fatally shooting a junior firefighter at a Pennsylvania fire station says it was a “terrible accident” involving two friends.

Attorney James Davis represents George Matis Jr., of Republic, who remains jailed on homicide and endangerment charges in the Sunday shooting of 16-year-old Parker Hess at the Republic Volunteer Fire Company.

State police say Hess was shot when Matis removed his gun from a holster and it fired, striking Hess in the cheek. Police haven’t said whether the shooting was accidental, but Davis believes it was.

Davis says “Mr. Matis is distraught over all this” and says his family offers its “heartfelt sympathies” to Hess’ family.

The homicide charge Matis faces allows prosecutors to pursue a murder conviction, but also manslaughter, for an accidental or reckless shooting.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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