Florida fire chief is arrested on murder charge, officials say

Brian Keith Easterling, 52, arrested

This image provided by the Okaloosa County Dept. of Corrections shows Brian Easterling. Authorities in Florida say the chief of a volunteer fire department is accused of fatally shooting a business owner because the victim owed him money. The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office says Easterling was taken into custody at his home in Holt, Fla., and is awaiting extradition from the nearby county of Okaloosa in the Panhandle. (Okaloosa County Dept. of Corrections via AP)

PENSACOLA, Fla. – 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.