A Santa Clarita fire station was attacked Tuesday morning by what police describe as a disgruntled employee. The individual began shooting at around 11 a.m. Tuesday morning, killing one firefighter and injuring another before fleeing the scene. It is believed the shooter and victim were fighting earlier in the day before gunfire erupted.
The shooting, which occurred in the Santa Clarita Valley community of Agua Dulce, left one dead and another injured at LA County Fire Station No. 81 in the 8700 block of Sierra Highway. The gunman, whose identity has not been released by law enforcement, drove from the fire station to his home, eight miles away. He then set his house on fire and shot himself. Police found his body near the property.
A firefighter, 44, was shot many times and died at the scene. A fire captain, 54, sustained a number of gunshot wounds and remained in critical but stable condition after surgery, according to Fire Chief Daryl Osby and Lt. Brandon Dean of the Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau. As of Tuesday evening names of the victims had not yet been released.
“As a fire chief, I never thought that when our firefighters face danger, that they would face that danger in one of our community fire stations,” Osby said long after the shooting.
According to the L.A. Times there was a long fight between the deceased and the suspect. They worked different shifts, but knew each other fairly well. The fight seemed to get much worse on Tuesday, the newspaper’s source said. The dispute was reportedly tied to how the fire station was run.
According to NBC, the person who made the initial 911 call from the fire station identified the attacker, but police have not made any arrests or confirmed the identity of the shooter.
Police reported that the suspect left Fire State 81 shortly after opening fire, fleeing to his home in Action, on Bent Spur Drive, before barricading himself inside and taking his own life. The $700,000 property near the hills in California was then set on fire. Water-dropping helicopters, normally used to fight wildfires, were deployed shortly after and fought the blaze.
According to The Daily Mail, the gunman was found by police slumped in a chair in the house, though it was not yet confirmed by law enforcement officials. Police have identified the owner of the home, which is registered to a 45-year-old California man, though they aren’t sure whether the gunman owns it or was renting.
The L.A. Times reported that source identified the gunman as fire engineer, but no name has been released. It’s still unclear if the gunman new the victims or what his motive was for the shooting.
The L.A. County Fire Department took to Twitter, saying that “It is with heavy hearts that the LACoFD confirms that a tragic shooting occurred at approximately 10:55 a.m. today at FS 81 in Agua Dulce. The Dept. is still in the process of gathering additional information & are cooperating with law enf. throughout this ongoing incident.”
In a separate tweet, the fire department confirmed a news conference at Fire Station 150 for 3:00 p.m. PST, which will provide the latest update and information on the Tuesday morning shooting.
This is a developing story. We will continue to update this article when new information is released.