CENTRAL (AP) — A man in eastern Arizona has died after authorities say he asked another man to shoot his bulletproof vest.
The Graham County Sheriff’s Office says the incident happened Monday evening as 25-year-old Parker Ray Lynch and two male acquaintances were shooting together in the area of Central.
All three were firing rounds from a .223 single-shot rifle at a ballistic vest in a tree-lined area.
Investigators say Lynch then donned the vest and accompanying plate and had Steven Watson shoot at him.
Watson fired one round, wounding Lynch in the abdomen.
He was transported to a hospital where he died during surgery.
"I honestly have no idea why they did what they did,” said Lynch’s close friend Sarah Del while shaking her head. "At first I didn't believe it, and then I got the phone call that it was true and I was just heartbroken.”
Del said she and her friend Tori Jonovich went to Eastern Arizona College together and that's where they met Lynch a few years ago.
“He was like a magnet. Everybody wanted to be his friend,” said Jonovich.
"If you met Parker, you knew that you were going to be friends with him, like he just made you feel so comfortable and loved around him,” said Del.
They're disappointed by what happened, but they're hanging on to memories of the loyal friend they loved.
For Jonovich, that last memory came in a message from Lynch the day before he died.
“It just said hey good morning have a good day…I love you. And I was like hey have a good day I love you too,” she said. "Not a coincidence. That was meant to happen, so it was really cool.”
Watson has been booked on suspicion of manslaughter. It was not immediately known Wednesday if he had an attorney.
Sheriff’s officials say the investigation remains ongoing.
Central is about a three-hour drive from Phoenix along U.S. 60 and U.S. 70.
[MAP: Phoenix to Central]