The fire scene where Dave Rosa was shot to death.
26 Jun 2018

US firefighter shot by resident while responding to a fire

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Press conference about the death of Captain Dave Rosa. A fire captain died after gunfire broke out when the team responding to a fire at a senior living facility in Long Beach on Monday morning.

A resident of a retirement home in Southern California opened fire on firefighters responding to a report of an explosion in the building, killing a veteran fire captain and wounding a second firefighter and another person, officials said.

Firefighters were originally called to the scene around 3:50 a.m. to put out a fire, but then residents reported they had heard some sort of explosion and could smell gasoline. The building's occupants were told to shelter in place.

Then gunfire broke out around 4:10 a.m., shortly after firefighters put out the fire but remained inside the building.

"It's unclear what led up to the shooting", said Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna.

An elderly man, who is a resident at the building, was also wounded. He was listed in stable but critical condition, authorities said.

A resident at the facility, identified as 77-year-old Thomas Kim, was arrested on suspicion of murder, two counts of attempted murder and arson, and was being held on $2 million bail, the police chief added.

A weapon was recovered, and investigators are still working to put together a "big puzzle" from a "very chaotic scene," according to Luna.

Meanwhile, tributes to Rosa were pouring in from public safety agencies across the Southland.

Dave Rosa on Twitter
Long Beach Fire Capt. Dave Rosa in  in a photo released June 25, 2018, by the Long Beach Fire Department.

Dave Rosa, 45, had been with the department for 17 years, officials said. He had also served as captain of Fire Station 10 for the last six and a half years, said Long Beach Fire Chief Mike Duree.

He leaves behind a wife and two sons, aged 16 and 25.

"This is a tough day," Duree said, pausing tearing up. "It's a tough day."

Heflin described the fallen captain as a man dedicated to his family, his profession and "committed to always making himself better." Rosa often served as a mentor to new firefighters and paramedics and was a training captain before being assigned to station 10, he said.

"That’s the kind of person Dave was, and he always had a smile on his face, always greeted you with a big hug and just a real engaging person," Heflin said. "And just a great friend and a great person to have around, and certainly someone you wanted on that engine company with you when you were going out and doing your job."

Firefighters could be seen embracing and comforting each other outside St. Mary Medical Center, where Rosa was treated, in aerial video from the scene.

 

Firefighters salute the van carrying the body of slain Long Beach Fire Capt. Dave Rosa as it travels down the 710 Freeway en route to the coroner's office on June 25, 2018. (Credit: KTLA)
Firefighters salute the van carrying the body of slain Long Beach Fire Capt. Dave Rosa as it travels down the 710 Freeway en route to the coroner's office on June 25, 2018. (Credit: KTLA)

 

Rosa's body was escorted with full honors from St. Mary to the coroner's office beginning around 12:20 p.m. A flag could be seen flying at half-staff outside the hospital.

“This is a large event for us and a huge loss for us,” Heflin said.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia also expressed his condolences during a news conference.

"Long Beach lost a hero today," he said. "The entire city as well as our fire department is mourning the loss of someone who was very dear to our community."

The second shot firefighter, Ernesto Torres, was discharged from the hospital late Monday morning and is expected to make a full recovery, Heflin said.

Torres is about 35 years old and has been with the department more than 10 years, according to Duree.