Firefighter kills colleague, wounds another at fire station

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Law enforcement authorities close off a road during an investigation for a shooting at fire station 81 in Santa Clarita, Calif. on Tuesday, June 1, 2021. An off-duty Los Angeles County firefighter fatally shot a fellow firefighter and wounded another at their fire station Tuesday before barricading himself at his home nearby, where a fire erupted and he was later found dead, authorities said. (AP Photo/David Swanson)

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – An off-duty Los Angeles County firefighter fatally shot a fellow firefighter and wounded another at their small community fire station Tuesday before going to his nearby home, setting it on fire and apparently killing himself, authorities said.

A 44-year-old fire specialist died and a 54-year-old firefighter was shot when the gunman opened fire shortly before 11 a.m. at Fire Station 81, which is about 45 miles (72 kilometers) north of Los Angeles, Fire Chief Daryl Osby told reporters. The wounded man was in critical but stable condition at a hospital.

The shooter was a firefighter specialist and engineer, authorities said. The fire chief said he could not speak to the motive for the attack and doesn’t know about any disciplinary actions.

“He was not scheduled to work today. He came back and confronted the on-duty personnel,” a visibly shaken Osby said. “I cannot speak to the mindset of the shooter. I can say that it’s very tragic and sad that that would be a decision point of one of the members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.”

The gunman, who was not identified, then went to his house less than 10 miles (16 kilometers) away, which authorities found engulfed in flames. He was later found dead in an empty pool.

The shooter appeared to have a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.

All the firefighters worked at the small station in Agua Dulce, a rural community of about 3,000 people in the desert of northern Los Angeles County known for its rock formations and panoramic views.

The shooting comes less than a week after a gunman killed nine of his co-workers at a rail yard in San Jose after rigging his home to burn down. He killed himself Wednesday after expressing hatred for his workplace for years.