Officials: Florida fire chief is arrested on murder charge

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) — The chief of a volunteer fire department in Florida is accused of fatally shooting a business owner because the victim owed him money, authorities said.

Brian Keith Easterling, 52, was taken into custody earlier Monday at his home in Holt, Florida and is awaiting extradition from the nearby county of Okaloosa, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said. He was charged with premeditated murder, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

Easterling is chief of the Baker Fire District, a volunteer fire department in the Florida Panhandle. The Baker Fire District’s assistant chief Mark McKenzie said Easterling was suspended and he would assume Easterling’s role.

The 63-year-old shop owner, who was not identified by officials, was found shot to death inside his business in Pensacola.

Surveillance video from the shop captured the killing, the sheriff’s office said.

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