A shooting at a downtown Long Beach, Calif., senior living facility left one firefighter dead and a second wounded, authorities said Monday.
Fire Capt. Dave Rosa, 45, was fatally shot while investigating reports of an explosion and the smell of gasoline inside the Covenant Manor senior care facility about 4 a.m., said Long Beach Fire Chief Mike Duree.
Rosa and another firefighter were shot while inside the 11-story high-rise helping to trace what had triggered the building’s sprinkler system and forced residents to shelter in place, Heflin said. A third person, a civilian, was also shot and is expected to survive, police said.
The firefighters were near the unit where the blast occurred when shots rang out and Rosa and the second firefighter were hit, officials said. Both were taken to trauma centers. The second firefighter is 35 years old and in stable condition, Duree said.
“This is a tough day,” Duree said, his voice choking with emotion and his eyes welling with tears.
Police took one person into custody. Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna described him as a person of interest. A weapon was recovered at the scene, Luna said.
By 10 a.m, police had blocked off streets near the facility with caution tape and police cars. Curious residents who walked by asked each other if they knew what happened. About a block away from the crime scene, officials wearing Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives jackets were huddled together in a discussion.
The identity of the person in custody has not been released and a motive was not immediately known.
When asked if the firefighters were ambushed by the shooter, Luna replied: “That is definitely on the table.”
“We’re going to be looking at that. That’s the environment we work at today, as law enforcement and firefighters,” Luna said. “You go to these scenes and you never know what’s on the other side of those doors. And these brave firefighters went through those doors, and unfortunately, they were met with gunfire.”
Residents will be allowed back in the building once it’s deemed safe, police said. Several windows in the building were blown out.
A Los Angeles County sheriff’s bomb squad unit was headed to the scene at East 4th Street and Atlantic Avenue to investigate two devices in the area that were deemed suspicious, Luna said.
Ginger Colbrun, a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokeswoman, said agents are now on the scene to assist with the investigation.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, Long Beach’s former police chief, said: “It is a tragic loss. Long Beach is biggest small town in America. Everyone knows everyone and this loss is being felt hard across the city.”
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