Last week’s shooting death of a Long Beach, California, firefighter is indicative of a growing and disturbing trend in the US, according to one Phoenix Fire Department captain.
“In addition to the traditional burning building…now we have the violence aspect within our society that just seems to be, really, more and more dangerous,” Capt. P.J. Dean said.
Preliminary investigations of the incident revealed that the suspect, 77-year-old Thomas Kim, intentionally set a fire in his second-floor apartment, which is part of a retirement home in Long Beach, to draw unsuspecting first-responders there—upon arrival, Kim intended to shoot them, according to Police Chief Robert Luna.
Kim was arrested and is being charged with suspicion of murder, attempted murder, and arson. Investigators are still trying to figure out a motive, Luna said.
Tragic events like the one that took place Monday are causing firefighters to form extensive partnerships with local police departments, and law enforcement around the country is being urged to report violent incidents to the International Association of Firefighters.
The National Fire Protection Association reported that between 1996 and 2015, 22 firefighters were fatally assaulted on duty.