A gunman Monday opened fire on firefighters responding to a report of an explosion at a high-rise Long Beach apartment building housing low-income seniors, killing a fire captain and wounding a second firefighter and a civilian, authorities said.
The Long Beach Fire Department firefighters had been sent to Covenant Manor, an 11-story building in the 600 block of East Fourth Street, about 3:50 a.m. in response to a report of a possible explosion. A fire alarm had been set off, and the sprinkler system had been activated, the LBFD reported.
Capt. Dave Rosa, 45, a 17-year veteran with a wife and two children, was fatally wounded in the shooting, the LBFD reported. The other firefighter, who is in his 30s, was hospitalized in stable condition. His name was not released. A third person, described only as a civilian, was hospitalized in unknown condition. According to reports from the scene, that victim is a resident at Covenant Manor.
A man described as a “person of interest” was taken into custody, according to Nancy Pratt of the Long Beach Police Department. Police said they were interviewing the man. Other details were not released, but witnesses told reporters that the suspect was a man who lived in the building.
Residents were evacuated from the building as a precaution and were being stopped from returning as an investigation was being carried out, a process that was continuing as of midmorning.
A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department bomb squad was sent to examine two “suspicious devices” found at the scene, Pratt said.
“The initial reports came in that there was some type of explosion at the location,” LBFD Chief Mike Duree said in a briefing at Saint Mary Medical Center about four hours after the first alarm came in.
“At 3:51 a.m., occupants reported the smell of … gasoline,” Duree said. “Occupants were instructed to shelter in place. As fire units made their way to the reported location, they noticed that windows had been blown out … in the general vicinity of an affected unit, and that sprinklers had been activated. At 3:59 a.m., the fire units stated they had knocked down the initial fire. At 4:08 a.m., reports of shots were fire at the location. We had two firefighters that were shot.”
Duree said he was “saddened to report … fire Capt. Dave Rosa — a 45-year-old assigned to Fire Station 10, a captain for the Long Beach Fire Department for the last six and a half years and a member of the Long Beach Fire Department for the last 17 years — was killed in the line of duty this morning when he responded to that structure fire. He leaves behind a wife and two children.”