LA County Captain Settles With Shooter’s Estate

A Los Angeles County fire captain who was shot by a disgruntled firefighter in 2021, has reached a settlement with the shooter’s estate. Captain Arnoldo V. Sandoval suffered serious injuries including paralysis in the shooting that occurred at Station 81 on June 1, 2021 following shift change.

Firefighter Jonathan Patrick Tatone shot and killed Firefighter Cory Carlon and wounded Captain Snadoval. Tatone, 45, and Carlon, 44, were both engineers on different shifts at Station 81 and apparently had a longstanding dispute. Tatone departed the station following shift change, later returning to fatally shoot Carlon and wound Captain Sandoval. Tatone then returned home where he set his house on fire and committed suicide.

The incident resulted in suits by Carlon’s family as well as Captain Sandoval. Captain Sandoval’s suit named Tatone’s estate and the county. The suit accused of county of negligence for being aware of Tatone’s:

  • longstanding threatening, bullying, combative, angry, and unstable behavior as a COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES employee at Station 81 for years prior to the June 1, 2021 shooting incident, and purposely failing to take any preventative action to remove the bullying, combative, angry, and unstable employee TATONE from Station 81 and the Fire Department, and away from co-workers such as plaintiff who were the known targets of TATONE’S dangerous animus.

Last year, the county agreed to pay Captain Sandoval $2.6 million to settle its part of the suit. The suit then proceeded against Tatone’s estate with a jury trial scheduled to begin on June 24, 2024. On May 31, 2024, the parties have notified the Los Angeles County Superior Court that a settlement had been reached, and that the case may be dismissed. The terms of the settlement have not been released and a copy of the settlement agreement was not posted to the court docket.

Here is a copy of the Notice of Settlement and a minute order scheduling a Show Cause Hearing on the dismissal for July 19, 2024.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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