A 17-year veteran of the Long Beach, California Fire Department was shot and killed Monday, while responding to an emergency call.
According to prosecutors, a 77-year old man shot and killed Capt. Dave Rosa, also injuring another firefighter and civilian during a feud with a neighbor.
The tragedy quickly catching the attention of the El Paso and Sunland Park Fire Departments. Leaders from both departments tell KTSM they are mourning the loss of Capt. Rosa along with the Long Beach Fire Department.
“We have been in contact with Long Beach, we’ve offered our condolences,” El Paso Fire Department Assistant Chief Rick Carson said.
The events have the Sunland Park Fire Department taking a closer look at their safety procedures and better ways they can keep their firefighters safe.
After recent mass shootings across the country, the department got bullet proof vests and helmets for everyone on their team. Captain Joseph Mayorga said it’s a good tool to have, as there have been times people have pulled guns on their firefighters in the past, but said it’s hardly the final solution.
“It’s not a matter of if but a matter of when. Routine emergencies turn hostile at any moment,” Mayorga explained.
He said the department has looked into other options, such as having a police escort for every call. That option though he said would be “unrealistic” due to resources. Another possible option is to bring on a fire marshal, a trained firefighter with law enforcement capabilities. The department currently doesn’t have one.
The El Paso Fire Department is not adjusting its procedures following the Long Beach incident. It doesn’t have tactical gear for firefighters, but Assistant Chief Rick Carson said they have a strong focus on “situational awareness.” Carson said cadets learn about how to address if a situation is unsafe.
“A lot of situations we go to, whether it’s fire, EMS, there’s a lot of unknowns. We’re just practicing awareness right now and hope it doesn’t come to that,” Carson said.