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'Firemen Aren't Supposed To Be Shot:' Son Remembers Fallen Long Beach Firefighter

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Mourners pack the memorial service for Long Beach Fire Department Capt. David Rosa. (Caleigh Wells / LAist)

The flag-draped coffin of Capt. David Rosa was escorted into the Long Beach convention center this morning by nine unformed pallbearers and a honor guard.

In an impressive show of pageantry, the pallbearers had made their way past a four-deep line of uniformed firefighters paying their respects. The coffin was followed by Rosa's widow and two sons.

A lone bagpiper began the service playing "Amazing Grace." He was soon joined dozens more, creating a rousing, plaintive sound in the packed ballroom.

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The lectern where the speakers stood was set in front of an array of memorabilia from Rosa's life: His helmet, uniform, framed photos of his family, his fire station and him.

"We are thankful for the years that you gave us to enjoy Captain Dave," said Tim Buzbee, the chaplain for the Long Beach Fire Department. "We are forever grateful for those like Captain Dave... who invest and make us who we are today."

Another fire department official called those how knew Rosa "truly blessed," but promised those in attendance who never met him would come to know 17-year veteran of the department through stories shared by friends and family.

Rosa was known as a jokester and the humor shared by his extended family immediately came across in the remarks by his brother-in-law, who is a firefighter in Carlsbad. And he said Rosa's mother wanted all Long Beach firefighters to know they were welcome to stop by her home anytime, to say hello or to just get a hug.

Rosa was fatally shot early last weekwhile responding to a pre-dawn explosion at a senior housing facility.

"When you hear something like that, it doesn't really register. I just sat in shock. My dad's a fireman. Firemen aren't supposed to get shot," said son Alec Rosa.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia led the crowd in a standing ovation for the work that his city's firefighters do.

And as the ceremony ended, firefighters were the first to leave.

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Prosecutors have said the man charged with Rosa's murder had a long-standing feud with a neighbor who lived in the apartment above him and was allegedly attempting to kill that woman.

Thomas Kim, 77, also faces additional charges of attempted murder in the June 25 incident. Two other men, a firefighter and a building resident, were also shot and wounded.

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Editor's note: A version of this story was also on the radio. Listen to it here.