Officials: Senior home resident feud led to firefighter's fatal shooting
Prosecutors said suspect Thomas Kim had been feuding with a female neighbor and set off an explosive device in his apartment "with the intent to kill her"
By Melissa Ethad
Los Angeles Times
LONG BEACH, Calif. — A 77-year-old man suspected of shooting and killing a Long Beach Fire Department captain during an emergency call at a high-rise senior living facility had set off an explosive device in an apparent attempt to kill a neighbor, according to prosecutors.
On Wednesday, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office charged Covenant Manor resident Thomas Kim with one count of murder, one count of attempted murder of a firefighter, two counts of attempted murder and one count each of arson of an inhabited structure and explosion with intent to murder.
Today we had the privilege to stand with our partners at OCFA to salute fallen Long Beach Fire Department Captain Dave Rosa as the procession drove S/B on the 405 freeway. Our hearts go out to Captain Rosa’s loves ones over this senseless act of violence. #ocfa #lbfd pic.twitter.com/Y1SWdTwRlM— Westminster Police (@WestminsterPDCA) June 27, 2018
"Kim also faces a special circumstance allegation that the murder was committed while a firefighter was on duty and the special allegation that he personally and intentionally discharged a handgun that caused great bodily injury and death," said Greg Risling, spokesman for the district attorney's office.
According to prosecutors, Kim had been feuding with a female neighbor who lived above him at the 11-story housing complex for seniors and disabled people. On Monday morning, Kim set off an explosive device in his apartment "with the intent to kill her," prosecutors said.
After the explosion, Kim sat at the opposite end of the hallway from his apartment on the second floor, authorities said.
Firefighters descended on the complex to investigate reports of an explosion and the smell of gasoline. Among them was Capt. Dave Rosa, a 17-year veteran of the Fire Department, and firefighter Ernest Torres.
Flowers and candles cover the ground outside Fire Station 10 in Long Beach where a fallen firefighter was stationed. Captain Dave Rosa was shot and killed while responding to a fire yesterday. He will be missed. pic.twitter.com/s7Q3WDDZxm— Kandiss Crone (@KandissCroneTV) June 26, 2018
Around 4 a.m., prosecutors said, Kim opened fire on the pair, killing Rosa and wounding Torres. An elderly man who lives in the building was also injured by gunfire.
Long Beach police said that they are still trying to determine a motive in the slaying, but that a note written by Kim and left at the crime scene leads them to believe the incident was a murder-suicide attempt.
In a statement released Monday, Long Beach police said it did not appear Kim started a fire to lure first responders to the location to ambush them, as reported by media outlets earlier in the week.
If convicted on all charges, Kim faces the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
After the shooting, about 80 seniors were evacuated from the facility and taken to Silverado Park. A handful of them were taken to nearby Covenant Presbyterian Church before being transported via bus to the park. Many felt fatigued and needed a place to rest and use the restroom.
All flags at County facilities will be flown at half-staff in honor of Long Beach Fire Captain Dave Rosa, who was killed in the line of duty Monday, 06/25. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Long Beach Fire Department and the Rosa Family. #LongBeach #Firefighters #ThinRedLine pic.twitter.com/Dcr0nR43Os— Curt Hagman (@curthagman) June 26, 2018
Rosa, 45, is survived by his wife and two sons, ages 25 and 16.