A firefighter, who remains unidentified, opened fire at the station, killed a colleague, and wounded the Station Captain at Los Angeles County Fire Department in Agua Dulce at around 10:50 a.m. on Tuesday. After the gunman opened fire at his workplace, he went to set his own home ablaze and killed himself with a gunshot, in California’s second deadly workplace shooting in a week.
According to the authorities, the gunman is a firefighter specialist and engineer. He was off-duty when he drove the 10 miles from his home in Acton, Los Angeles, to his workplace at Los Angeles County Fire Station 81. The authorities added that there was no known disciplinary action against the gunman.
The victim, who was fatally shot several times in the upper torso, is a 44-year-old fire specialist who drives a fire truck. He has three daughters and had been with the department for more than 20 years, Osby said.
The wounded 54-year-old fire captain was airlifted to Henry Mayo Hospital in Valencia. He was shot in the upper body, had undergone surgery, and is in critical but stable condition at a hospital.
The gunman then returned to his home, barricaded himself, and the authorities later found the property engulfed in flames. The gunman was found dead in an empty pool from what seemed to be a self-inflicted gunshot.
The home burned for hours, and helicopters fought the blaze because it was unsafe to send firefighters in. A bomb squad and the SWAT team were also called in to assess the situation before firefighters were allowed to use hoses on the burned property.
During a 3 p.m. news conference, Fire Chief Daryl Osby said, “It is with a heavy heart that I stand here and say that one of our firefighter specialists succumbed to his injuries.” He said the shooting, “was some of the worst news that I’ve heard in my career.”
Janice Hahn, County Supervisor, said firefighters risk their lives daily.
“Between emergency calls, the fire station must have felt like their safe haven,” she said. “Unfortunately, that sense of safety has now been shattered.”