Tragedy struck in Agua Caliente, California Tuesday morning when Tory Carlon, a more than 20-year member of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, was gunned down by a coworker at Fire Station 81.
The assailant, Jonathan Tatone, died of a self-inflicted gunshot in his home later that day.
"We do believe there was some disagreement over work performance and work-related issues," Lt. Brandon Dean said Wednesday. "How long it has been going on we don't know yet." The two men worked at the station on different shifts and had been clashing over operations and other issues.
L.A. County Fire Chief Daryl Osby described Carlon as "truly dedicated, one of our better firefighters, amazing, and a true loss to our department."
Carlon leaves behind his wife, Heidi, and three young daughters.
Early this morning, Burbank firefighters gathered on the overpasses to pay respect to fallen LA County Firefighter… https://t.co/tb2xFE1ao9— Burbank Fire Department, CA (@Burbank Fire Department, CA) 1622658210.0
The tragedy happened just two days before Carlon's oldest daughter Joslyn was set to graduate from Saugus High School. One can only imagine the pain she felt knowing that her father couldn't be at the ceremony.
However, even though her father couldn't be in attendance, her extended "fire family" had her back and they made an impressive display.
On Wednesday night an email chain was sent among L.A. County Firefighters asking them to show up to show their support for the daughter of their fallen brother.
The next day, over 300 firefighters from L.A. county and neighboring departments showed up at Josyln's ceremony at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita. The parking lot was filled with fire engines from all over the area and the firefighters lined up and stood at attention as Joslyn entered the ceremony.
"I haven't had a chance to look at where all of our brothers and sisters have come from," Battalion Chief Nick Berkuta Berkuta told The Santa Clarita Valley Signal. "But I can see that we have quite an outpouring of support that is truly appreciated."
"We're here to make sure that she knows we're all thinking about her," said Fire Department Capt. Chris Reade. "We found out last night, email goes fast, and we all dropped everything we were doing in our personal lives and came down here to show our support."
As seen from the media area at the Saugus High School graduation, the hundreds of firefighters who came to support… https://t.co/pCKd1vImzE— SignalSCV (@SignalSCV) 1622785497.0
When Joslyn walked up to the stage to accept her diploma, she did so wearing her father's fire jacket draped across her shoulders. She was greeted by a chorus of cheers from the firefighters and a standing ovation from fellow classmates.
When she left the stage she was escorted by a firefighter who is a close friend of the Carlon family.
Daughter of firefighter killed in shooting wears father's jacket to graduation https://t.co/7mI8FVgiLn— FOX 5 DC (@FOX 5 DC) 1622829611.0
When asked what the gesture meant, Reade gave a simple explanation that sums up the meaning of "fire family."
"It means that we're always going to be with them," said Reade. "The Fire Department family is huge and strong, and they can come to us anytime for anything they need."
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up for the Carlon family. It has already eclipsed its goal of $200,000.
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