Suspected Firefighter Killer Due In Court

Suspected Firefighter Killer Due In Court

A 77-year-old man accused of killing a Long Beach fire captain is due in court today. Thomas Kim is expected to be arraigned for murder, attempted murder, arson and other charges for last month's attack. 

Investigators say Kim had been feuding with a neighbor woman who lived above him in the retirement home and set off an explosive device with the intent of killing her. After the explosion, Kim sat at the end of a hallway and shot at firefighters who were searching the building. Long Beach Fire Captain Dave Rosa was killed and firefighter Ernesto Torres was wounded in the exchange. 

A third man was also critically injured by the gunfire authorities said. 

Police also discovered additional suspicious devices during a search of the retirement home, and called the bomb squad to respond. 

The residential tower near downtown Long Beach contains 100 apartments that are mainly used by low-income seniors aged 62 and above, as well as disabled adults over the age of 18 according to the building's website. 

Rosa, 45, worked for the Long Beach Fire Department for 17 years and leaves behind a wife and two children. At a memorial service hosted at the Long Beach Convention Center Tuesday, one of the deceased fire captain's two sons told the crowd that the news of his father's killing had left him "in shock." 

“My dad's a fireman. Firemen aren't supposed to get shot,” Alec Rosa said. “And it wouldn't be real until I called a friend, and when I repeated what my mom had told me, that's when I started to cry. And I cried that day for about 10 hours. And when I did stop, it wouldn't be because I wasn't in pain, or I ran out of tears; it's because my body was numb, and it physically hurt to continue to cry.

“And the rest of the week was weird, because it didn't feel real,” Rosa's son said. “But every day that passed made it more real. The fact that he wasn't coming back; that I couldn't call him anymore; that I couldn't ask him for his advice; that I was never just going to be able to drop by the (fire) station and hang out, and talk about life. And it's not just me -- you know -- my mom is never going hear him come in the door and say, `Honey, I'm home.' My little brother is never going to be able to look out during a baseball game and see his dad watching in the stands. And my grandparents are never going to have their son just drop in for dinner to hang out with them.

“Everyone wishes they could say something, do something, to take away the pain. But the truth is, there's really nothing that can take away the pain -- only time can do that,” Alec Rosa said.

Rosa is survived by his wife Lynley; his two sons, Alec, 26, and Sam, 15; his parents, Paul and Jean Rosa; and his sister, Julia Hensley.

The Long Beach Fire Department has set up a fund for Rosa's family. Information about the fund can be found at www.friendsoflbfire.org/police-fire-memorial

“Capt. David Rosa was a well-respected fire officer,” according to the Long Beach Fire Department. “He served as a mentor for many young adults, paramedics, and firefighters. He was dedicated to his faith, his family, and to his profession. Capt. Rosa's tragic death has left us deeply grieved and saddened. This loss is profound and has been felt by all members of his fire family and the community he served with dedication and distinction. Our hearts, prayers, and condolences go out to his family and friends.”

Photo: Getty Images

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