Santa Clarita firefighter shoots 2 colleagues, burns down home in anger and kills himself
SANTA CLARITA, CALIFORNIA: In a series of dramatic events, a Santa Clarita firefighter shot two colleagues before killing himself and setting his house on fire. The individual, who has not been identified by police, was reportedly on a rampage on Tuesday, June 1. The gunman, who was off-duty at the time, entered the fire station around 11 am, leading to the death of one and another being seriously wounded.
Fire crews were seen struggling to contain the blaze he set late on June 1. Earlier this year, the area faced another blaze that would have turned deadly, after an accident on a film set sparked a fire in Valencia. The incident also comes just a week after a mass shooting in San Jose, where a gunman killed nine Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority employees.
That shooting, by Samuel Cassidy, was a pre-planned attack and blamed on his anger management issues. A motive for the latest attack is yet to be ascertained, police did however mention that the gunman was a "disgruntled employee". Further details are awaited, including the identities of his victims.
Gunman attacks fire station
Around 11am, the gunman entered Fire Station 81 in Agua Dulce, Santa Clarita, and killed one individual while injuring another. The victims have so far been identified as 44-year-old firefighter engineer and a 54-year-old fire captain. The captain is expected to survive after he was taken to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital. He is reportedly in critical but stable condition. The gunman then drove 10 miles to his home, barricaded himself in and set the house on fire.
As fire crews responded to the blaze, cops found the gunman's body floating in the pool with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. No one else appears to have been injured or killed in both incidents. Speaking about the shooter, LA County fire chief Daryl Osby told reporters, "He was not scheduled to work today. He came back and confronted the on-duty personnel." He added, "As a fire chief, I have dealt with a lot of death, and a lot of fallen members of my department. I've always prayed that we would never have a line of duty death. I never thought that if it occurred it would occur in this fashion."
It is unclear what prompted such drastic action, or why the gunman chose to take his own life. Investigations are currently ongoing. The Daily Mail reported that the house the gunman lived in was registered to a 45-year-old California man. It is unclear if the individual was the shooter or if he rented the house to the gunman. The LA Times reported that the owner is a veteran firefighter, but police are yet to comment on the matter.
Local outlets reported that the house was recently sold and that neighbours had no clue who lived at the property. They were, however, treated to a lot of action as fire crews were busy battling the flames. That included using a helicopter to make a water drop and SWAT teams dropping down into the building. The unit was called in to help search for an "assault with a deadly weapon suspect".
So far, officials only confirmed that the engineer who died was a "dedicated" firefighter and a 20-year veteran of the department. He reportedly is survived by a wife and son. County Supervisor Hilda Solis tweeted shortly after the incident, "My most sincerest condolences to the family of the firefighter who was tragically killed in today's shooting at Fire Station 81 in Agua Dulce. My thoughts are with our @LACOFD family. At my direction, flags will be flown half-staff at all County buildings."
My most sincerest condolences to the family of the firefighter who was tragically killed in today's shooting at Fire Station 81 in Agua Dulce. My thoughts are with our @LACOFD family. At my direction, flags will be flown half-staff at all County buildings. https://t.co/wgxhxH8La8— Hilda Solis (@HildaSolis) June 1, 2021
Sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters that workplace violence was being investigated as a possible motive.