Funeral services held for 16-year-old junior firefighter killed at firehouse

Funeral services held for 16-year-old junior firefighter killed at firehouse

A junior firefighter fatally shot at the firehouse where he volunteered was laid to rest Friday.

Parker Hess, 16, was killed Sunday night at the Republic Volunteer Fire Company in Redstone Township, Fayette County.

On Friday, fire trucks surrounded the First Christian Church of New Salem in Uniontown. The Republic Volunteer Fire Company said more than 70,000 people, fire stations and fire departments reached out to them after Hess was killed.

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George Matis Jr., 21, a fire captain for the department, is charged with criminal homicide and recklessly endangering another person in connection with the shooting. Hess and Matis were in an office at the fire station when Matis removed a 9mm pistol from a holster he was wearing and it discharged in Hess’ direction, a criminal complaint said.

State police said Hess and Matis were friends, and investigators do not yet know if the shooting was intentional or an accident.

Hess was a sophomore at Brownsville Area High School and his family members said it was his dream to become a New York City firefighter. They said he was so proud to finally afford his own official helmet, which cost him nearly $500.