LOS ANGELES, CA – According to astonishing reports out of California, on Tuesday a firefighter allegedly shot two colleagues at his fire station, drove back to his house – which he proceeded to set on fire – and then killed himself, representing the second deadly workplace shooting in the West Coast state in less than a week.
The suspect, an off-duty firefighter specialist and engineer, reported he had driven ten miles from his Acton home to Los Angeles County Fire Station 81 in Agua Dulce, where he then opened fire with a handgun at two of his colleagues. The suspect and victims have not been identified by police as of press time.
The two victims included a 44 year-old fire specialist – a 20 year department veteran with three daughters – who was struck by gunfire several times in his torso and was killed. The second victim was a 54 year-old fire captain who was also hit in the torso and is listed in critical but stable after being rushed to a local areas hospital.
The shooter was off-duty that day, according to Fire Chief Daryl Osby, who spoke to reporters; he also stated he was unaware of any disciplinary or personal issues regarding the suspect.
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“[He] was not scheduled to work today. He came back and confronted the on-duty personnel. I cannot speak to the mindset of the shooter,” he said. “As a fire chief, I never thought that when our firefighters face danger, that they would face danger in one of our community fire stations.”
After shooting his co-workers, the suspect then drove back home to his home in Acton, which he then set on fire; responding officers found the residence completely ablaze, reports say, and initially only allowed the fire department to combat it with helicopters because it was considered too dangerous to allow firefighters into the dwelling with the shooting suspect still unaccounted for. Only after the debris was searched by SWAT and Bomb Squad teams were firefighters allowed to enter the home.
The body of the suspect was later discovered in an empty pool, apparently dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. No other bodies were found on the scene, police say.
Less than a week before, Samuel Cassidy, 57, a worker at a Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority bus and rail yard in San Jose, was responsible for a mass shooting, killing nine people in his workplace and then himself when police responded.