First Responders

Firefighter Kills 1 Co-Worker, Critically Injures Another at LA Fire Station

June 2, 2021Joshua Skovlund
LA County Fire Station shooting

Firefighting helicopters, left, try to contain a blaze at the alleged shooter’s home. The critically injured captain, right, is escorted from a medical chopper into a hospital. Screenshots from YouTube videos. Composite image by Joshua Skovlund/Coffee or Die Magazine.

Shots rang out Tuesday morning in Los Angeles County Fire Station 81 as firefighters on duty there faced the nightmare of a gunman who was one of their own. A firefighter engineer was killed in the shooting, and another was critically injured. Authorities confirmed that the alleged shooter is another firefighter from Station 81 who was off duty at the time.

The deceased firefighter is a 44-year-old man with 20 years of service at the LA County Fire Department. Another man, 54, who officials say is a captain at Station 81, sustained multiple gunshot wounds. The shooter, who has not been identified other than as a fellow firefighter, appears to have killed himself.

“We love our community, that’s why we do this,” Jon Matheny, an LA County Fire Department public information officer, said. “Firefighters, EMS personnel, and police officers — we love the communities that we live in and that we serve. When something like this happens to one of our own, it is unexpected and the amount of death and tragedy that we see every day — it’s just one of those situations where you’re never quite prepared for something to enter your own house, if you will, on this level.”

The LA fire department said the incident unfolded around 11 a.m. Tuesday at the station, which is located in Agua Dulce, a city north of Los Angeles. LA Sheriff’s Department personnel responded to reports of gunshots at the station and arrived to find one dead and another critically wounded. The captain was flown to a local hospital and is said to be in critical but stable condition. 

Shortly after the firehouse shooting, a house belonging to the alleged shooter erupted into flames, which authorities believe was started by him. A body was seen in an empty pool with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the head after the house caught fire. LA deputies were dispatched to the house fire, but they were unable to approach the building due to heat from the blaze. 

The Special Enforcement Bureau, which is the LA Sheriff’s Department SWAT team, was deployed to the area, lowering themselves from helicopters. Because the suspect’s home was not considered safe, firefighting helicopters could be seen dropping water on the burning building, a practice typically reserved for brush fires. The building eventually burned to the ground.

The motive of the shooting still is unknown.

“I stand here with a heavy heart,” LA County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said. “It’s truly a sad day and tragic day for the LA County Fire Department.”

Read Next: Body of Firefighter Located After 112 Rescued From Fire at Assisted Living Facility

Joshua Skovlund
Joshua Skovlund

Joshua Skovlund has covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis that followed the death of George Floyd. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he earned his CrossFit Level 1 certificate and worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. He went on to work in paramedicine for more than five years, much of that time in the North Minneapolis area, before transitioning to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children. His creative outlets include Skovlund Photography and Concentrated Emotion, where he publishes poetry focused on his life experiences.

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
Military Moves To Cut Suicides, But Defers Action on Guns

In a memo released Thursday, Austin called for the establishment of a suicide prevention working gro...

March 17, 2023Associated Press
us military drills japan-south korea
US, Partners Stage Military Drills Amid Japan-South Korea Talks

The Sea Dragon 23 exercises that started on Wednesday will culminate in more than 270 hours of in-fl...

March 17, 2023Associated Press
leo jenkins a word like god
‘A Word Like God’: New Book From Army Ranger Leo Jenkins

In his latest poetry collection, Ranger-turned-writer Leo Jenkins turns away from war to explore cosmic themes of faith, fatherhood, and art.

March 16, 2023Mac Caltrider
us drone
Pentagon Video Shows Russian Jet Dumping Fuel on US Drone

The Pentagon on Thursday released video of what it said was a Russian fighter jet dumping fuel on a ...

March 16, 2023Associated Press
10th Mountain Division
‘Climb to Glory’ — A History of the US Army’s 10th Mountain Division

From the mountains of Italy to the mountains of Afghanistan, the US Army’s 10th Mountain Division built its legendary reputation by fighting in some of the most inhospitable places in the world.

March 16, 2023Matt Fratus
iraq invasion 20 years later
Why US Troops Remain in Iraq 20 Years After 'Shock and Awe'

The roughly 2,500 U.S. troops are scattered around the country, largely in military installations in Baghdad and in the north.

March 15, 2023Associated Press
Ohio train derailment
First Responders
BRCC Donates Coffee to Towns Ravaged by Train Wreck and Historic Storms

Americans living in East Palestine, Ohio, and central Oklahoma are recovering from February disaster...

March 15, 2023Jenna Biter
Coffee Or Die Photo
DOD Official Says Sub Agreement Will Help Guarantee Free, Open Indo-Pacific

Mara E. Karlin, performing the duties of deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, said the agree...

  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
  • Request a Correction
  • Write for Us
  • General Inquiries
© 2023 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved