Firefighter killed colleague at California fire station

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Police vehicles appear on the scene of a fire near a home in Acton, Calif. on Tuesday, June 1, 2021. Authorities say there’s been a shooting at a Los Angeles County Fire Department station. Fire Department Supervisor Leslie Lua said paramedics responded to reports of gunshots at Fire Station 81, about 45 miles (72 kilometers) north of Los Angeles. The home on fire is about 10 miles (16 kilometers) east of the station, and there’s a heavy police presence, but it’s unclear if it’s connected to the shooting and authorities didn’t immediately have more information. (David Crane/The Orange County Register via AP)

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say an off-duty firefighter fatally shot a fellow Los Angeles County firefighter and wounded another at their fire station before barricading himself at his home nearby, where he was later found dead.

Fire Chief Daryl Osby said at a news conference Tuesday that a 44-year-old fire specialist died in shooting and a 54-year-old firefighter was shot. The wounded man is in critical but stable condition at a hospital.

Osby says the shooter barricaded himself at his house less than 10 miles from Fire Station 81, which is about 45 miles (72 kilometers) north of Los Angeles. The home was set on fire, and he was later found dead.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva says the gunman appeared to have a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, adding that no deputies fired.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (AP) — A shooting at a small Los Angeles County Fire Department station Tuesday killed one firefighter and wounded another, a county official and multiple media outlets reported.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to reports of multiple gunshot victims shortly before 11 a.m. at Fire Station 81, about 45 miles (72 kilometers) north of Los Angeles, according to a statement from the county sheriff.

Police and fire officials released no other details, but the death was confirmed by county Supervisor Hilda Solis, who tweeted condolences “to the family of the firefighter who was tragically killed in today’s shooting.”

The Fire Department described it as a “tragic shooting” on Twitter, saying the agency is “still in the process of gathering additional information” and it’s cooperating with law enforcement “throughout this ongoing incident.”

Around the time of the shooting, a fire broke out at a home less than 10 miles (16 kilometers) east of the station and police swarmed the area. TV helicopter reporters said a body that may be the gunman was visible outside the home, which was gutted by flames in about three hours.

Agua Dulce is a rural community of about 3,000 people in the desert of northern Los Angeles County known for its rock formations and panoramic views. It’s a dry, hilly area, and ranches with horses and other livestock break up the mountainous landscape.

Neighbors watched black smoke pouring from the burned house in the nearby community of Acton. Michael May, 70, lives down the road and said he was sitting in his living room when he heard the buzz of helicopters flying low.

“Around here, that usually means a fire,” he said.

He saw a swarm of police cars racing up the street, and deputies emerged wearing bulletproof vests.

May has been a resident of the community for 23 years but didn’t know who lived at the gutted home. He said many people in law enforcement live in the area, as well as some in the film industry.

“It’s a place people want to go for peace and quiet,” he said.

Brian Dalrymple, 79, lives across the street from May and said he thought the burned home had been sold recently.

He and his wife went outside to see the thick smoke, initially concerned the flames might spread to their home. Dalrymple said he never heard gunshots but saw deputies rushing up to the property, long guns in hand.

He said a friend called to tell them the news.

“We didn’t know what she was talking about,” Dalrymple said. “It’s usually pretty peaceful out here.”

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Associated Press writer Christopher Weber in Los Angeles contributed to this story.

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