Family, friends and a host of colleagues from the Los Angeles County Fire Department gathered at the Forum in Inglewood Thursday to bid farewell to firefighter Tory Carlon, who was fatally shot by a fellow firefighter inside the agency’s Agua Dulce station.
Among those on hand for the 10 a.m. invitation-only memorial service was county Fire Chief Daryl Osby.
“This loss is extremely heartbreaking and tough,” Osby said. “But also, what remains in the hearts of many of us is Tory … He was a loving husband, father, son, brother, uncle … coworker and friend.
“Tory loved his job; but when I met his family, I knew that that was his second love. His first love was his family …,” Osby said. “Tory will always be with us. He will greatly be missed, but he will never be forgotten.”
The service was streamed on the department’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/LACoFD.
Carlon, 44, was shot multiple times on June 1 at Fire Station 81 in the 8700 block of Sierra Highway by off-duty firefighter Jonathan Patrick Tatone, 45. A 54-year-old fire captain, Arnoldo Sandoval, was also seriously injured in the shooting.
After the shooting, Tatone drove to his home in Acton about 10 miles from the station and set fire to the structure. He was later found dead in the home’s backyard of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Authorities said there had been a running dispute between Carlon and Tatone, possibly over the management of the Agua Dulce station, and the pair had argued in the past. It was unclear, however, exactly what prompted the shooting.
Carlon, a 20-year veteran of the county fire department, is survived by his wife Heidi and their three daughters.
Days after the shooting, Carlon’s oldest daughter, Joslyn, graduated from Saugus High School, and hundreds of firefighters showed up in uniform in a show of support for the her and their fallen colleague’s family. Joslyn wore her father’s firefighting jacket when she walked on stage to accept her diploma.
On Tuesday, a private “flag ceremony” was held for Carlon at Fire Station 131 in Palmdale, which was one of Carlon’s final assignments. The flag at the ceremony had been displayed both at the Palmdale Station, and at the Agua Dulce station where Carlon was killed.
The day of the shooting, Osby said Carlon had been with the department for more than 20 years and was a career firefighter, starting in a U.S. Forest Service Explorer Program. He described him as “truly dedicated, one of our better firefighters, amazing, and a true loss to our department.”
The chief said learning about a shooting inside one of the agency’s own fire stations “was some of the worst news that I’ve heard in my career.”
“And as a fire chief, I’ve dealt with a lot of death and a lot of fallen members of my department. And I’ve always prayed that we would never have a line-of-duty death. I never thought that if it occurred that it would occur in this fashion,” he said.
Later the night of the shooting, hundreds of people attended a candlelight vigil in Acton. During the vigil, one of Carlon’s fire department colleagues said, “When it comes to being a father, when it comes to being a fireman, when it comes to being a mentor, there was nobody that could parallel that.”
A GoFundMe page established to support the Carlon family had raised more than $286,000 as of Thursday. The page is at gofundme.com/f/the-carlon-family.