PHOENIX ( 3 TV / CBS 5 ) - Opening statements began Monday in the case against the man accused of shooting and killing an off-duty Tempe Fire captain in Old Town Scottsdale last year.
In addition to Capt. Kyle Brayer's family being in the courtroom on Monday, his work family was present.
Often when a trial begins, you'll see a victim's family in the courtroom. It's customary to attorneys and occasionally officers.
What you don't normally see are firefighters.
“We knew it was going to be difficult, and the family obviously knows it’s going to be difficult,” said Eric Arias of the Tempe Fire Department. “Everything’s a bit different now with him [Brayer] gone.”
Brayer, age 34, was a fire captain and proud veteran. To Tempe firefighters, he was also a brother.
“I knew Kyle pretty well over the last ten years of his life there,” said Arias.
“I remember when he got hired. He was always an all-star,” said Don Jongewaard, President of Tempe Firefighters Union.
Arias and Jongewaard sat solemnly in the courtroom on Monday, somewhere they never thought they'd be.
Police said Brayer was shot in the head by Hezron Parks in Old Town Scottsdale last February.
Brayer had been riding on a golf cart with friends when officials said Parks started driving closely, nearly hitting the golf cart. When Brayer got out to talk to him, Parks fired the fatal shot.
Police said Parks took off that night but turned himself in hours later.
Tempe Fire never lost a brother like this.
“I can’t think of any homicide [like this],” said Jongewaard.
Now, they vow to be at the trial every single day.
“The loss of a family member. It’s hard to put into words what that is and how that feels,” said Arias.
And to Brayer's mom and dad, Tempe Fire wants them to know something.
“Just that we’ll be there. Firefighters will always be there for them,” said Jongewaard.
Much of the trial will be centered around people who were on that golf cart with Brayer that night. There were a total of eight of them.
The trial continues Tuesday morning.