Tory Carlon, a dedicated member of the Los Angeles County Fire Department for over 20 years, was tragically shot and killed by a coworker at Fire Station 81.
The assailant, Jonathan Tatone, later took his own life through a self-inflicted gunshot in his home. Lt. Brandon Dean revealed that the incident stemmed from a disagreement over work performance and other work-related issues. The two men, working different shifts at the station, had been engaged in clashes regarding operations and other matters.
Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby expressed his deep sorrow, describing Carlon as an exceptional firefighter and a significant loss to the department. Carlon leaves behind his wife, Heidi, and their three young daughters, a family shattered by this unfathomable tragedy.
The devastating incident occurred just two days before Carlon's eldest daughter, Joslyn, was scheduled to graduate from Saugus High School. The heartache she must have felt, knowing her beloved father wouldn't be there for this milestone, is unimaginable. But in the face of such grief, Joslyn found solace in her extended "fire family" who rallied around her in an incredible display of support.
A chain of emails circulated among L.A. County firefighters, urging them to stand together and show their unwavering support for their fallen brother's daughter. The following day, over 300 firefighters from Los Angeles County and neighboring departments gathered at Joslyn's graduation ceremony held at the College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita. The parking lot was filled with fire engines from various areas, while the firefighters stood in formation, paying their respects as Joslyn entered the ceremony.
As seen from the media area at the Saugus High School graduation, the hundreds of firefighters who came to support Carlon cheer and clap in the bleachers as her name is read, while her classmates stand and join in the applause. @LACoFDPIO @LACOFD pic.twitter.com/bICeYX8WYX— SignalSCV (@SCVSignal) June 4, 2021
Battalion Chief Nick Berkuta expressed his gratitude, saying, "I haven't had a chance to look at where all of our brothers and sisters have come from, but I can see that we have quite an outpouring of support that is truly appreciated." Fire Department Captain Chris Reade added, "We're here to make sure that she knows we're all thinking about her. 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 Joslyn walked up to the stage to accept her diploma, she did so with her father's fire jacket draped across her shoulders. The firefighters erupted into cheers, and her fellow classmates rose in a standing ovation, acknowledging her strength and resilience. To ensure Joslyn's emotional well-being, she was accompanied off the stage by a firefighter who is a close friend of the Carlon family.
When asked about the significance of this powerful gesture, Captain Reade provided a simple yet profound explanation that captures the essence of the "fire family." He said, "It means that we're always going to be with them. The Fire Department family is huge and strong, and they can come to us anytime for anything they need."
In an effort to support the Carlon family during this devastating time, a GoFundMe campaign was launched, with an initial goal of $200,000. The response has been overwhelming, with the campaign already surpassing its target, a testament to the compassion and solidarity within the community.
The tragic loss of Tory Carlon serves as a stark reminder of the dangers faced by those who selflessly dedicate their lives to protecting others. Yet, in the face of such heartbreak, the unity and unwavering support shown by the fire department family stand as a beacon of hope, reminding us of the incredible resilience and compassion that can emerge from even the darkest of moments.