LOS ANGELES (AP) — A 77-year-old man set off an explosion in a California retirement home in an attempt to kill his neighbor before he shot at responding firefighters and killed a veteran captain, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Thomas Kim was charged with murder, attempted murder, arson and explosives counts following the blast and shooting early Monday in Long Beach.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Kim had an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
Kim had been feuding with a woman who lived above him in the retirement home and set off an explosive device with the intent to kill her, prosecutors said.
The shooting occurred shortly after firefighters arrived at the 11-story retirement facility and detected the small of gas while finding some windows had been blown out and fire sprinklers had been activated. They quickly extinguished a fire.
After the explosion, authorities said, Kim sat at the end of a hallway and shot at firefighters who were searching the building.
Long Beach Fire Capt. Dave Rosa was killed and firefighter Ernesto Torres was wounded.
A third person — an elderly resident who lived in the building — was critically wounded, police said. His condition wasn’t immediately known on Wednesday.
Rosa, who had worked for the department for 17 years, left behind a wife and two children. Torres was released from the hospital later Monday and was expected to recover, officials said.
During a search, police found two suspicious devices and called the bomb squad, Police Chief Robert Luna said.
Police said Wednesday there was no indication that Kim had lured firefighters to his apartment to shoot them.
Investigators found a note that led them to believe the incident was an attempted murder-suicide, police said. Detectives are still working to determine an exact motive.
The residential tower near downtown Long Beach has 100 apartments for low-income people 62 and older as well as disabled adults over 18, according to its website.