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, according to the Long Beach Fire Department. A fire alarm had been set off, and the sprinkler system had been activated the LBFD reported.
Long Beach fire 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.
The suspect was taken into custody, according to Long Beach police Sgt. Brad Johnson, who said police were interviewing the man. Other details were not released.
A witness 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 mid morning.
“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 gas: 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.
“One was transported to Saint Mary Medical Center in critical condition,” Duree said. “The second was transported in stable condition. I am saddened to report, as of right now, 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.”