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Gun violence in the US

One firefighter shot dead, another wounded, while reporting to explosion at retirement home in California

A resident of the retirement home was being questioned by Long Beach police as a ‘person of interest’ after ‘suspicious devices’ were found

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 June, 2018, 3:55am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 June, 2018, 4:13am

A resident of a southern California retirement home was being questioned on Monday after a fire captain was fatally shot while responding to an early morning report of an explosion in the building, authorities said.

A second firefighter and a third person were also wounded in the attack, officials said.

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The shooting occurred after firefighters responded to a 3.49am alarm at the 11-story retirement facility in Long Beach, south of Los Angeles, and found some windows blown out, activated sprinklers, the smell of gas and a fire that they extinguished, authorities said.

Firefighters were searching the building when shots were fired at 4.08am and the two firefighters were hit, Long Beach Fire Chief Michael DuRee said.

Fire Captain Dave Rosa, who had worked for the department for 17 years, died at a hospital Monday morning, DuRee said. He is survived by a wife and two children, the chief said.

The other shot firefighter, who was not immediately identified, was hospitalised in stable condition.

A third person was also struck by gunfire and was in critical condition and undergoing surgery, said Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna. No further details were provided about that person.

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Luna said that a “person of interest” – who police believe is a resident at the facility – was detained at the scene and was being questioned by investigators. A weapon was recovered at the scene, he said.

“There is a big puzzle to put together,” Luna said of the investigation.

Investigators were looking into whether the shooter intentionally lured responders to the scene to ambush them, Luna said.

Police also called for bomb-squad investigators after they discovered “a couple of devices they deemed to be suspicious”, Luna said, and they were still examining those items Monday morning.

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The residential tower near downtown Long Beach has 100 flats for low-income people 62 and older as well as disabled adults older than 18, according to its website.

Luna said that police officers and firefighters “go to these scenes and you never know what’s on the other side of those doors”.