Wife of murdered firefighter files suit against L.A. County

Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies, and Los Angeles County Fire personnel stage in front of Los Angeles County Fire Station 81 in Agua Dulce on Tuesday, 060121. Dan Watson/The Signal
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The wife of Los Angeles County firefighter Tory Carlon, who was shot and killed last year at Station 81 in Agua Dulce, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against her husband’s killer and former employer.  

The suit, filed on Friday by Heidi Carlon, alleges that the L.A. County Fire Department had known for years that the shooter, Firefighter Engineer Jonathan Tatone, had “clearly demonstrated to Fire Department leadership that he was unstable mentally and was a dangerous condition to those around him.” 

“He was angry, unpredictable, violent and eventually deadly,” reads the civil suit. “Tatone was an open wound in Fire Station 81, left to fester and infect for years by Los Angeles County Fire Department leadership who chose to ignore, normalize and ratify Tatone’s dangerous conduct.” 

The suit alleges that Carlon and others had warned the department about Tatone’s “unhinged and dangerous” behavior all the way up until June 1 when the fire engineer walked into Station 81 to kill Carlon and seriously wound Fire Capt. Arnie Sandoval.  

“Although Tatone pulled the trigger, it was Los Angeles County Fire Department leadership’s ratification of Tatone’s years of dangerous conduct that was the substantial factor in the death of Tory Carlon,” the suit reads. It later adds: “In other words, the county of Los Angeles and Does 1 through 50 not only knew or should have known this was going to happen, they enabled and ratified the very conduct that caused it to happen.” 

While the suit does not state how much Carlon’s widow is seeking, it does state she is seeking for all economic and non-economic loss as a result of her husband’s death, as well as relief for all economic loss she incurred in terms of legal and attorney fees.  

Carlon, a Santa Clarita Valley resident, was born and raised in the Antelope Valley and was the youngest of five children. He attended the fire tech program at Antelope Valley College before working in forest service for three years. He was accepted by the L.A. County Fire Department Academy and was stationed at various fire stations in the area, including Fire Station 131. 

In another suit filed last year by Tory Carlon’s parents, it is reported that Tatone and Carlon both worked at the firehouse located at 8710 Sierra Highway as fire engineers, but on different shifts, and following a shift change Tatone killed Carlon.  

Investigators say he then fled to his Bent Spur Drive home in Acton before setting it on fire and turning the firearm fatally on himself. 

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