Send expressions of sympathy or condolences for the family to: IAFF Local 372, 2201 Cherry Avenue, Suite 300, Signal Hill, CA 90755-3783.
IAFF leaders and peer support teams are meeting with grieving family members and stunned union brothers and sisters one day after Long Beach, CA Local 372 member Dave Rosa was shot and killed June 25 while responding to an emergency call of an explosion at an apartment building. Another fire fighter, 35-year-old Ernesto Torres, a 10-year veteran and member of Local 372, was wounded in the incident but has been released from the hospital.
IAFF 10th District Vice President Frank Lima and IAFF Western Trustee Tony Mejia have met with the family of Captain Rosa, 45, a 17-year veteran of the Long Beach Fire Department and Local 372. Long Beach Local 372 President Rex Prichard says peer support teams from Los Angeles County Local 1014 and Los Angeles City Local 112 also arrived at Local 372 headquarters to offer support and counsel to IAFF members and families struggling to understand the tragedy.
“We have occasionally had civilians pull [guns] on us in the past, but this the first time one of our fire fighters has been shot and killed while responding to an emergency call,” Pritchard says, noting that he was unable to offer much more detail on the incident as a criminal investigation is underway.
General President Harold Schaitberger reached out to Pritchard immediately after hearing of the incident to offer any assistance needed. Funeral arrangements are underway and an IAFF Medal of Honor is being prepared for Captain Rosa’s service.
“We are so thankful, but unfortunately this is what the IAFF does so well,” Pritchard says of the International’s swift and thorough response.
The shooting occurred at about 4:00 a.m. Monday morning, June 25, after fire fighters responded to reports that residents of a Long Beach senior living facility smelled gas. The single alarm response team arrived on scene to find windows blown out on one of the upper floors and water sprinklers activated.
Minutes after fire fighters knocked down the fire on the 11th floor, they received reports of gun fire.
A 77-year-old suspect, identified as Thomas Kim, was arrested and booked for murder, two counts of attempted murder and arson. According to police, Kim was a resident of the senior housing facility. Police also found two suspicious devices that were rendered safe by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department bomb squad.
Although a suspect is in custody, Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna says investigators still have many unanswered questions about the incident.
Captain Rosa leaves behind a wife and two sons, ages 16 and 25.