FF killed in targeted shooting ID'd; shooter, victim had long-standing job dispute

Tory Carlon, a 44-year-old father of three, has been identified as the Los Angeles County firefighter shot and killed at Station 81

Duty Death: Tory Carlon - [Los Angeles, California]

End of Service: 06/01/2021


A fundraiser has been set up for the family of fallen firefighter Tory Carlon.

UPDATE 6/2/21, 2:30 p.m. CT:

By Stefanie Dazio
Associated Press

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. — A Los Angeles County firefighter appeared to have a longstanding job-related dispute with the colleague he shot and killed at their small, rural fire station in what became California's second deadly workplace shooting in less than a week, authorities said Wednesday.

The gunman also wounded a fire captain at the station about 45 miles (72 kilometers) north of Los Angeles on Tuesday before setting his house on fire in a nearby community and apparently killing himself, officials said. 

Preliminary interviews with other employees at Fire Station 81 indicate the shooter and the firefighter who was killed had "some workplace beef," said Los Angeles County sheriff's Lt. Brandon Dean, who is overseeing the homicide investigation.

"It sounds like they didn't like each other," Dean told The Associated Press, without elaborating about their problems.

A fundraiser has been established to help the family of fallen firefighter Tory Carlon.
A fundraiser has been established to help the family of fallen firefighter Tory Carlon. (GoFundMe)

He said investigators will comb through the Fire Department's personnel files to see if any official complaints had been made or disciplinary actions had been taken before the bloodshed. It was not immediately clear how long the two had worked together at the station in Agua Dulce, a rural community of about 3,000 people in the desert of northern Los Angeles County.

The coroner's office on Wednesday identified the firefighter who died as Tory Carlon. The 44-year-old fire specialist who drove the firetruck was shot several times in the upper torso, authorities said. He had three daughters and had been with the department for more than 20 years. 

Hundreds of people honored him at a vigil Tuesday night at a park near the station, remembering him as a devoted father and committed firefighter who mentored younger colleagues. 

The 54-year-old fire captain who was wounded was still in critical but stable condition. He is expected to survive his injuries, Dean said. Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the captain had previously been a deputy before transferring to the Fire Department.

Detectives believe the captain, who wasn't identified, heard the shooting and went to find the source of the gunfire, but it wasn't clear if he tried to intervene or the attacker turned the gun on him, Dean said. It was not immediately clear if the shooter also had a dispute with the wounded man.

Property records show that firefighter Jonathan Tatone owned the home that burned in the community of Acton, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from the fire station. He bought it last July. Tatone is listed as a county firefighter since at least 2012, according to public payroll and pension records kept by Transparent California. 

The coroner's office has not officially identified him as the shooter, and an autopsy is pending. Fire Department officials on Wednesday did not release more details about his employment.

The gunman was off-duty when he went to the fire station and opened fire, authorities said. He then drove to his house and set it on fire. He was later found dead in an empty pool of a gunshot wound that appeared to be self-inflicted because nobody else was there and deputies didn't open fire, sheriff's officials said.

Investigators seized a handgun at the home they believe is linked to the shooting at the fire station.

Fire Chief Daryl Osby said the small station — one of 172 throughout Los Angeles County — has only four firefighters per shift and was considered a second home by employees who typically work 24 hours at a time.

"As a fire chief, I never thought that when our firefighters face danger, that they would face danger in one of our community fire stations," Osby said.

Tuesday's shooting occurred less than a week after a man opened fire with three handguns at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority bus and rail yard in San Jose, killing nine of his co-workers and then himself as law enforcement closed in. He had rigged his home to burn down before heading to his longtime workplace last Wednesday.

Acquaintances said 57-year-old Samuel Cassidy had a short fuse at times and a longtime grudge against his workplace, but the exact motive for the shooting was under investigation. Body camera footage from a Santa Clara County sheriff's deputy who went into a building as shots were being fired was released Tuesday.

A new FBI report found that California had the most mass shooting incidents in the last 20 years, aligning with the fact that it's the nation's most populous state.

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Original report: 

By Stefanie Dazio
Associated Press

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. — A firefighter killed a co-worker and wounded another at their small fire station before setting his own home ablaze and apparently killing himself in California's second deadly workplace shooting in days.

The gunman, a firefighter specialist and engineer, was off-duty when he apparently drove the 10 miles (16 kilometers) from his home in Acton, north of Los Angeles, and opened fire Tuesday morning at Los Angeles County Fire Station 81, authorities said.

The killer "was not scheduled to work today. He came back and confronted the on-duty personnel," a visibly shaken Fire Chief Daryl Osby told reporters. "I cannot speak to the mindset of the shooter."

The chief also said he didn't know about any disciplinary actions involving the gunman, who wasn't immediately identified.

A 44-year-old fire specialist, who drove a fire truck, was shot several times in the upper torso and died. The father of three daughters had been with the department for more than 20 years, Osby said. 

A 54-year-old fire captain who also was shot in the upper body underwent surgery and was in critical but stable condition at a hospital.

The gunman then returned to his house, which authorities found engulfed in flames. He was later found dead in an empty pool of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot, since nobody else was at the home and deputies didn't open fire, sheriff's officials said.

Helicopters fought the blaze because it was considered unsafe to send firefighters into the home, which burned for hours. A SWAT team and a bomb squad were sent in before firefighters were finally allowed to use hoses on the gutted ruins.

Authorities didn't immediately release the dead firefighter's name, but friends and family members identified him as Tory Carlon. Hundreds of people gathered Tuesday night for a vigil at a park near Fire Station 81 to honor Carlon. He was remembered as a devoted father and committed firefighter who was a mentor to younger colleagues. 

The fire station is in Agua Dulce, a rural community of about 3,000 people in the desert of northern Los Angeles County known for its rock formations and panoramic views. 

Osby said the station has only four firefighters per shift and was considered a home by workers who typically work there 24 hours at a time.

"As a fire chief, I never thought that when our firefighters face danger, that they would face danger in one of our community fire stations," Osby said.

County Supervisor Janice Hahn said firefighters risk their lives daily.

"Between emergency calls, the fire station must have felt like their safe haven," she said. "Unfortunately that sense of safety has now been shattered."

The shooting occurred less than a week after a longtime worker opened fire with three handguns at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority bus and rail yard in San Jose, killing nine people and then himself as law enforcement officers closed in. He had rigged his home to burn down before heading to his workplace.

Acquaintances said 57-year-old Samuel Cassidy had a short fuse at times and a longtime grudge against his work but the exact motive for the shooting remained under investigation. Body camera footage from a Santa Clara County sheriff's deputy who went into a building as shots were being fired was released Tuesday.

A new FBI report finds that California had the most mass shooting incidents in the last 20 years, a figure that aligns with its status as the nation's most populous state, with nearly 40 million residents. 

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