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He didn't set out to kill a firefighter, cops say. But he wanted to blow up his neighbor

A broken window at a retirement home at the scene of a fatal shooting in Long Beach, California., on Monday, June 25, 2018. A resident of a retirement home in Southern California opened fire on firefighters responding to a report of an explosion in the building, killing at least one and wounding others, officials said.
A broken window at a retirement home at the scene of a fatal shooting in Long Beach, California., on Monday, June 25, 2018. A resident of a retirement home in Southern California opened fire on firefighters responding to a report of an explosion in the building, killing at least one and wounding others, officials said. The Associated Press

When Thomas Kim, 77, shot at firefighters early Monday, killing one, after an explosion in Long Beach, California, authorities wondered if he’d set an ambush for them, reported KABC.

But it turns out Kim was trying to blow up the woman living upstairs from him in the 11-story Covenant Manor senior living center as part of an ongoing feud, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office charged Kim on Wednesday with murder, attempted murder of a firefighter, attempted murder, arson of an inhabited structure and explosion with intent to murder, reported the publication.

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Long Beach, California, police keep a street closed off near a retirement home, seen in background on Monday, June 25, 2018. A resident of a retirement home in Southern California opened fire on firefighters responding to a report of an explosion in the building, killing at least one and wounding others, officials said. Jae C. Hong The Associated Press

Kim shot and killed Capt. Dave Rosa, 45, about 4 a.m. Monday as he investigated an explosion and fire at the senior living center, police told The Daily Breeze. Kim also wounded firefighter Ernesto Torres, 35, and an elderly fellow resident, police said.

Rosa leaves behind a wife and two sons, ages 16 and 25, Fire Chief Mike Duree told the publication.

“He was a staunch family man, a good husband, a good father, a joy to be around, just a wonderful wonderful person, as are most firefighters,” Duree told The Daily Breeze. “It’s left quite a big void.”

Investigators initially suspected Monday that Kim might have set off a bomb to lure firefighters into an ambush, KABC reported.

"You go to these scenes and you never know what's on the other side of those doors," Police Chief Robert Luna told the station. "These brave firefighters went through those doors and, unfortunately, they were met with gunfire."

But prosecutors told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday that Kim had set off the bomb in an attempt to kill his upstairs neighbor, a woman with whom he had been feuding.

Long Beach police said in a press release Wednesday that a note left by Kim suggested the bombing was intended to be a murder-suicide. An investigation continues into why Kim opened fire on firefighters, police said.

“I do know that he was upset with the lady above him,” neighbor Susan Windmiller-Smith told KCAL. “He was saying she was making noise in the night, and he would call the police and have the police go up there.”

She said Kim had fired his caregiver and given away some of his belongings recently.

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