Prosecutors: Suspect who killed firefighter intended to kill neighbor

- A 77-year-old man who allegedly shot and killed a veteran Long Beach Fire Department captain and wounded a second firefighter and a civilian after setting off an explosive device at a senior living residence was charged Wednesday with capital murder and other counts.


Plywood now covers a second story Long Beach patio blasted open by an explosion.
 
Two days later, residents say a fire captain’s death on Atlantic and 4th still feel like an actual open wound.
 
But it's one they have no closure over.
 
"I feel sick about it. I feel they come out here, they come and c'mon. A lot of them come here and help us every day," said Cindy Kuhns.

The L.A. district attorney's office said Wednesday the resident in this apartment, 77-year-old Thomas Kim, was fighting with a woman who lived above him.
 
Resident Cindy Kuhns says Kim used to live on her floor and would complain about noises all the time.
 
"When he used to live on my floor, he used to hear sounds above his floor. He would run to my apt and run to my apt. Cindy come to my room and listen," said Kuhns.

Prosecutors now believe Kim set off an explosive device in an attempt to kill the woman.
 
Cindy says she's spoken to that woman, who doesn't know all the details, but she is shaken.
 
"She's upset. She's nervous. She's got this smoke in her apartment. And she's nervous," said Kuhns.
 
Police believe Kim was attempting a murder suicide based on a note he left behind. It's still unclear why he shot at firefighters.
 
Firefighters responded to call about an unusual gasoline smell around 4 a.m.
 
As Fire Captain Dave Rosa and firefighters Ernesto Torres ran in, prosecutors say Kim sat on the other end of a hallway and starting shooting them, and an elderly man living in the building.
 
A neighbor across the street documented crews rushing one of the wounded out of the building and treating another
 
Rosa later died.  
 
Prosecutors say they are charging Kim with capital murder, attempted murder including attempted murder of a firefighter, arson and explosion with the intent to murder
 
Many people, still grappling for more answers

If Kim is convicted he faces the death penalty or life in state prison without the possibility of parole.

 

Earlier:

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office will decide later whether to seek a death sentence against Thomas Man Kim, who is accused of fatally shooting Fire Capt. Dave Rosa, 45, early Monday at Covenant Manor, an 11-story building in the 600 block of East Fourth Street in Long Beach.

Kim allegedly set off an explosive device in his apartment in an effort to kill a female neighbor who lived above him and with whom he had been feuding, according to prosecutors.

Police said a note that was drafted by Kim and recovered at the scene led investigators to believe it was a murder/suicide attempt. A preliminary investigation led police to believe the fire was set as a result of the dispute between Kim and his neighbor, not to draw first responders to the location to ambush them, according to a statement issued by the Long Beach Police Department.

After the explosion in his apartment, Kim reportedly sat at the opposite end of the hallway and fired on Rosa as he made his way down the hall, according to prosecutors.

Kim also allegedly wounded firefighter Ernesto Torres, 35, and a civilian who lived in the building, according to prosecutors.

Kim was arrested just after 6 a.m. Monday morning, and has remained in custody since then, according to jail records.

He is charged with one count each of murder, attempted murder of a firefighter, arson of an inhabited structure and explosion with intent to murder, along with two counts of attempted murder.

The murder charge includes the special circumstance allegation of murder while a firefighter was on duty, along with an allegation that he personally and intentionally discharged a handgun that caused great bodily injury and death.

It was not immediately clear when he would appear in a Long Beach courtroom for arraignment.

Shortly before the charges were filed against Kim, the Long Beach Fire Department announced that a fund that was set up for Rosa's family.

Information about the fund is available at www.friendsoflbfire.org/police-fire-memorial.

Funeral services are pending for Rosa, who had a wife and two children.

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