One firefighter was shot dead and another wounded when an off-duty colleague gunned them down at a Los Angeles County fire station.
Los Angeles County Fire Department chief Daryl Osby confirmed that a 44-year-old firefighter had died and a 54-year-old fire captain was in a “critical but stable” condition.
Chief Osby confirmed that after the shooting the suspect returned to his home, set it on fire, and was later found dead at the scene.
“I never thought that it would be me or my department that would suffer this kind of loss,” he said.
“I never thought when our firefighters faced danger that they would face that danger at one of our community fire stations.”
“He was a brave, committed and loyal member of our department for 20 years,” he said of the dead firefighter, who was a fire engine driver.
“He was truly dedicated, one of our best firefighters and a true loss to our department.”
The chief said that he was not aware of any previous incident like this in the department’s history.
He then said that the shooter worked for his department and had gone to the station on a day off “for whatever reason”, when the violence unfolded.
“Following the shooting we learned that the firefighter returned to his house, barricaded himself, the home was set on fire and he was also found deceased,” he added.
Law enforcement say that the shooter was identified by name and the vehicle he was driving, and when they arrived at his home, he was barricaded inside.
The house was then set on fire and a body has been seen in the swimming pool, say officials.
Investigators say they do not yet have a motive for the shooting and have not yet had a chance to search the burned remains of the house.
“It is with heavy hearts that the LACoFD confirms that a tragic shooting occurred at approximately 10.55am. today at FS 81 in Agua Dulce,” the fire department tweeted.
“The Dept is still in the process of gathering additional information & are cooperating with law enf throughout this ongoing incident.”
The second shooting victim was taken to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital in Valencia, California, and underwent emergency surgery for his wounds.
The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department in Palmdale, California, has warned people to stay away from the scene of the house fire in Acton, tweeting that there is a “high volume of law enforcement presence in the area.”
Law enforcement officials say that after the shooting the suspect engaged with police at the home.
The owner of the property is a veteran fire fighter, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Water-dropping helicopters were called in to extinguish flames at the home as law enforcement held back firefighters from the home until it was confirmed to be a safe scene.