LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A 77-year-old man was charged with murder on Wednesday in the fatal shooting of a fire captain who responded to a blaze at a retirement building that prosecutors said was started when the suspect set off a bomb to kill his neighbor.
Thomas Man Kim, who police said wounded a second firefighter and another resident of the 11-story high-rise in Monday’s shooting spree, was also charged with attempted murder, arson and setting off an explosion with the intent to kill.
Kim faces so-called special circumstance allegations that could make him eligible for the death penalty if he was convicted at trial, according to Greg Risling, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
An initial court appearance was postponed because Kim had medical issues, Risling said.
It was not clear if Kim had retained an attorney as of Wednesday afternoon when charges were filed.
Prosecutors said Kim detonated an explosive device on Monday morning in an unsuccessful attempt to kill a woman with whom he had been feuding who lived above him in the retirement building.
They said Kim then sat at the end of the hallway leading to his apartment and opened fire with a handgun on Long Beach Fire Captain Dave Rosa, firefighter Ernesto Torres and a neighbor.
Rosa died of gunshot wounds at nearby St. Mary’s Medical Center. Torres and the other victim, who was not identified, were expected to recover.
Police have said they found two suspicious devices in Kim’s residence in the building, which houses some 80 people.
Reporting by Dan Whitcomb