A fire engulfs a house in Acton, Calif., Tuesday, June 1, 2021. Los Angeles County Fire Department supervisor Leslie Lua said paramedics responded to reports of gunshots shortly before 11 a.m. at Fire Station 81. (AP Photo/David Swanson)
UPDATED 8:25 AM PT – Thursday, June 3, 2021
Authorities in California have been investigating an off-duty firefighter who opened fire on his co-workers before setting his own house ablaze. Chief Daryl Osby of the Los Angeles County Fire Department expressed this situation as “some of the worst news” that has occurred during his career.
During a press conference on Tuesday, police confirmed the firefighter who was shot and killed was a 44-year-old department veteran. The other victim was a 54-year-old fire captain. He was airlifted to a local hospital in critical condition with multiple gunshot wounds, but is expected to survive.
The situation started early Tuesday morning at a fire station in Agua Dulce, which is located about 50 miles north of Los Angeles. Officials say a disgruntled off-duty firefighter, later identified as 45-year-old Jonathan Tatone, entered the facility and opened fire.
Osby went on saying, “as a fire chief I never thought that, when our firefighters face danger that they would face that danger at one of our community fire stations.”
The suspect then fled to his home in nearby Acton, barricaded himself inside and set the structure on fire. Authorities eventually contained the blaze. Tatone was found dead at the scene with his cause of death still unclear. Police report that it was likely due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Lt. Brandon Dean of Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department mentioned that “at this time it’s unknown if it’s self-inflicted or not, but we know that no deputies fired and we don’t believe anybody else was at the location.”
Investigations into the incident are still ongoing.