Florida fire chief accused of murdering business owner
PENSACOLA, Fla. (WALA) - A Florida fire chief has been suspended after his arrest in relation to the death of a business owner.
Baker Fire Chief Brian Easterling, 52, is in jail following the shooting death of a 63-year-old business owner in Pensacola. Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons said the incident started Thursday after a disagreement about money, WALA reports.
“It turns out that the fire chief in Baker is also a cold-blooded killer,” Simmons said.
Investigators say Easterling and the victim had prior business deals, where the victim allegedly owed the suspect money. They were seen on camera discussing the issue - until things took a deadly turn, according to the sheriff.
“As he turned away, just for a split second, he pulled a small handgun from his pants pocket, fires one round and puts the gun right back in pocket, takes his keys and leaves,” Simmons said.
Easterling allegedly left after placing a tarp over the victim’s body.
It would take three days for police to discover the gruesome scene.
“His family had not gotten a hold of him. They went to the local Pensacola police department, and they went to his shop off Creighton Road. That’s where we got the call to go up there with them. That’s where the body was discovered,” Simmons said.
After finding the victim, the search was on for Easterling. Deputies in Okaloosa County found him and arrested him at his home in Holt.
“You never know who you’re dealing with, I guess. Sometimes, they can be your typical type of person who will commit a crime. And sometimes, they can be the fire chief from Baker,” Simmons said.
Easterling is back in Escambia County, where he’ll face charges for premeditated murder.
He has also been suspended as the Baker fire chief. The assistant chief will take over.
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