Deputy fire marshal charged in death of 18-year-old volunteer firefighter in Texas

A deputy fire marshal has been arrested in the fatal shooting of a young volunteer firefighter in Texas, officials say.

Joshua Michael Hahn was charged Thursday with manslaughter after the Sunday night shooting death of Douglas Smith in Waller County, officials say. Hahn is a deputy fire marshal at the University of Houston Fire Marshal’s Office.

“Many of us have known the victim in this case, Douglas Smith, since he was a baby,” the Waller County District Attorney’s Office posted on Facebook. “This shooting was totally unnecessary and criminal. Our prayers are with his family both by blood and in the fire department.”

Prosecutor Sean Whittmore told KPRC that Smith, an 18-year-old volunteer firefighter with the Tri-County Fire Department, was at a home in Waller County on Sunday when Hahn began showing off a rifle. They were at a party, KAGS reported.

“The arrested individual said he had unloaded his firearm, he was carrying it and he dropped it and it went off. That was the initial report,” Whittmore told KPRC. “Witnesses later said a different story happened, indicating he had been pointing the rifle at the individual, that he pulled the trigger and it went off.”

Whittmore said the shooting appears to be unintentional, KPRC reported. He told the news outlet that Hahn ejected a magazine but didn’t check whether a bullet remained in the chamber.

Hahn is a volunteer firefighter in Waller County, according to the University of Houston website.

He was arrested on $100,000 bond.

“The investigation is on-going pending possible additional charges,” the sheriff’s office said.

Smith’s funeral is scheduled for Wednesday with a fire apparatus procession to the cemetery, according to the Waller-Harris Emergency Service District #200.

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