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'Fake firefighter' crashes public procession for fallen Hotshot

Maggie Vespa

'Fake firefighter' crashes public procession for fallen Hotshot

By Maggie Vespa. CREATED Jul 11, 2013

MARANA (KGUN9-TV) - Marana police say the funeral of a fallen Hotshot hero was hijacked, just so one man could 'play' firefighter.

 
It was a day for remembrance.
 
"Any time we lose one, it's devastating."
 
It was a time of tribute.
 
 
"It's just so emotional."
 
It was a moment to pay final respects, used as a stage for one man's bizarre personal ploy.
 
"Yesterday afternoon, the Marana Police Department was helping with the funeral services for William Warneke," said Sgt. Jose Alvarez.
 
And it was a somber procession that led mourners, including hundreds of firefighters, to the Marana Mortuary.
 
And it was here that an assistant fire chief for the city of Tucson noticed someone darting in and out of the procession, taking pictures.  
 
What's more, he was wearing a tucson fire t-shirt and hat.  
 
When approached, our 'photographer' said he was a Tucson firefighter, for the city's fleet services division.  
 
Little did he know, he was talking to the top dog in that division.  
 
In other words, he was asked to try again.
 
49 year-old James Brown's story continued to crumble, when police searched his pockets.
 
"We found him in possession of two different fire department badges," said Alvarez.
 
They also found brown had a lengthy rap sheet, complete with an outstanding felony warrant from Maricopa County for theft.
 
Police arrested our fake firefighter and charged him with impersonating a public servant.
 
His real life muse says the move goes beyond disrespectful.
 
"If an emergency happens, and you're not prepared, and somebody went down, and now people are looking at you in that uniform, expecting you to do something and if you're not prepared, there's no violation worse than that," said Capt. Barrett Baker of the Tucson Fire Department.
 
They say it was a dangerous, dumb-founding violation, done while a family tries to mourn.