Loved ones, colleagues gather for memorial service for slain 44-year-old LA County firefighter

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- Family, friends and a host of colleagues from the Los Angeles County Fire Department gathered at the Forum in Inglewood Thursday to bid farewell to firefighter Tory Carlon, who was fatally shot by a fellow firefighter inside the agency's Agua Dulce station.

Those in attendance for the invitation-only memorial service was county Fire Chief Daryl Osby, county Supervisor Kathryn Barger and other dignitaries.

"I've hugged too many families...that have lost loved ones and that pain also stays with me," Osby said during the service. "But this loss is extremely heartbreaking and tough."

Carlon's daughter brought people to tears as she spoke about her father.

"It is crazy how much a life can change within a second. Never in a million years did I ever think I'd be standing here in front of you all today giving this speech," Josyln Carlon said. "You don't know what I would give just to hug my daddy again, tell him I love him and see his beautiful smile just one last time."

Firefighters said as they move on and deal with the tragedy, they hope they can live a life of service the way Carlon would have wanted.

Carlon, a Santa Clarita Valley resident, was and born and raised in the Antelope Valley and was the youngest of five children.

The 44-year-old was shot multiple times on June 1 at Fire Station 81 in the 8700 block of Sierra Highway by off-duty firefighter Jonathan Patrick Tatone, 45. A 54-year-old fire captain, Arnoldo Sandoval, was also seriously injured in the shooting.

Agua Dulce shooting: Slain firefighter remembered fondly
EMBED More News Videos

A Los Angeles County firefighter who authorities said was was fatally shot by an off-duty co-worker is being remembered by people who held him in high regard.



After the shooting, Tatone drove to his home in Acton about 10 miles from the station and set fire to the structure. He was later found dead in the home's backyard of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Authorities said there had been a running dispute between Carlon and Tatone, possibly over the management of the Agua Dulce station, and the pair had argued in the past. It was unclear, however, exactly what prompted the shooting.

Carlon, a 20-year veteran of the county fire department, is survived by his wife Heidi and their three daughters.

Days after the shooting, Carlon's oldest daughter, Joslyn, graduated from Saugus High School, and hundreds of firefighters showed up in uniform in a show of support for the her and their fallen colleague's family. Joslyn wore her father's firefighting jacket when she walked on stage to accept her diploma.

EMBED More News Videos

The daughter of the firefighter who was killed at the Agua Dulce station graduated from high school Thursday, wearing her father's firefighting jacket as she tearfully received her diploma.



On Tuesday, a private "flag ceremony" was held for Carlon at Fire Station 131 in Palmdale, which was one of Carlon's final assignments. The flag at the ceremony had been displayed both at the Palmdale Station, and at the Agua Dulce station where Carlon was killed.

The day of the shooting, Osby said Carlon had been with the department for more than 20 years and was a career firefighter, starting in a U.S. Forest Service Explorer Program. He described him as "truly dedicated, one of our better firefighters, amazing, and a true loss to our department."

The chief said learning about a shooting inside one of the agency's own fire stations "was some of the worst news that I've heard in my career."

"And as a fire chief, I've dealt with a lot of death and a lot of fallen members of my department. And I've always prayed that we would never have a line-of-duty death. I never thought that if it occurred that it would occur in this fashion," he said.

Later the night of the shooting, hundreds of people attended a candlelight vigil in Acton. During the vigil, one of Carlon's fire department colleagues said, "When it comes to being a father, when it comes to being a fireman, when it comes to being a mentor, there was nobody that could parallel that."

A GoFundMe page established to support the Carlon family had raised more than $286,000 as of Wednesday.



City News Service contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2021 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.