Thomas Kim was arrested in connection with a fire and shooting at a Long Beach retirement housing center that left one firefighter, Capt. Dave Rosa, dead and another injured. He is suspected of purposefully setting the fire that the retirement home. Here is what we know so far about Kim and what happened at Covenant Manor. This is a developing story.
1. Explosive Devices Were Found in Kim’s Apartment
Around 4 a.m. on Monday, authorities responded to a call about a fire and an explosion at a senior housing facility in Long Beach, ABC 7 reported. When firefighters arrived, they smelled gas and found a fire, windows blown out, and sprinklers activated.
After putting out the fire, firefighters began searching the building for the source of a gas smell. That’s when Capt. Dave Rosa, 45, and another firefighter, Ernesto Torres, 35, were shot. Rosa was trying to trace the source of the gas smell and was near the unit that was believed to have caused the blast when he was shot, the LA Times reported.
Officials said that explosive devices were found in Kim’s apartment, Press Telegram reported.
Rosa was initially in critical condition and later pronounced dead at St. Mary Medical Center. The other firefighter is in stable condition. Officials said another person was wounded and hospitalized, ABC 7 reported.
Rosa was a 17-year veteran firefighter.
2. Kim Was Booked for Murder, Attempted Murder, & Arson, & Authorities Are Investigating If He Set the Fire to Ambush the Firefighters
Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna said they were investigating whether Kim purposefully set the fire in order to ambush the firefighters. He said: “We’re going to be looking at that. That’s the environment we work at today, as law enforcement and firefighters. You go to these scenes and you never know what’s on the other side of those doors. And these brave firefighters went through those doors, and unfortunately, they were met with gunfire.”
A witness said they thought the gunman was hiding in the stairwell as residents were evacuating. The LA County’s bomb squad also investigated two items on the scene that were deemed suspicious.
Thomas Kim was booked for murder, ABC 7 reported. He was also charged with two counts of attempted murder and arson. A revolver was found at the scene.
According to his arrest record, Kim’s bail was set for $2 million.
3. Thomas Kim, 77, Is a Resident of the Facility & Had a Previous Arrest Record for Auto Theft
Thomas Kim was quickly taken into custody after the shooting. Police Sgt. Brad Johnson said that he was a resident of the facility. He’s 77 years old. He had a previous record from years ago for auto theft, USA Today reported.
A woman who was visiting the building at the time, Mrs. Harris, told the Press Telegram that she heard a loud “boom” on the second floor. “It looked like it blew a window clean out of the building,” she said.
Ronald Keller, a resident, said he heard a loud bang and then the sound of glass breaking. Police told him to wait in his apartment. “I’m used to hearing gunshots in this area,” he said.
Another resident, Adrian, said he initially thought there was an earthquake.
When speaking to the media, Johnson lamented the loss of Rosa. He said during a news conference: “Firefighters, they do a tremendous job and they deal with fire — they don’t deal with bullets. It’s a sad time in Long Beach’s history today if you have firefighters injured responding to just doing their job.”
4. His Brother Hadn’t Spoken to Kim in 30 Years, But Said He Used To Be a Very Peaceful Man with a Degree in Engineering
Kim’s family didn’t even know he was still alive, CBS Los Angeles reported. Geo Kim, his brother, said he hadn’t seen Thomas Man Kim in almost 30 years. He said Thomas had once been married, but they later divorced. He and his brother lost touch because Thomas was frequently moving back and forth between the United States and Mexico.
Thomas Kim had a degree in civil engineering, his brother said, and used to attend church regularly. Geo said about his brother: “I didn’t believe it because he’s a very peaceful man. I don’t understand. That’s why I have to go see him. I have to go get the information about this case.”
5. Covenant Manor Is an 11-Story Senior Housing Facility in Downtown Long Beach
The shooting and fire occurred at Covenant Manor. Covenant Manor is an 11-story high-rise building in the downtown area of Long Beach, ABC 7 reported. It has 100 apartments and is one of 63 affordable housing communities run by HumanGood, LA Times reported.
Covenant Manor, where the fire and shooting took place, is described on its website as “serving low incomes seniors 62 or older and/or disabled adults over the age of 18.” The building is located on 600 E. 4th St. in Long Beach, California. There are 100 apartments at Covenant Manor, including one- and two-bedroom units. Each apartment is equipped with a full kitchen and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Because of high demand, the community has a waiting list.