Thanks to You: A Murderer Remains Behind Bars

Thursday, November 22, 2007 |

Earlier this year, I shared a deeply personal request for each of you to consider the pending parole of California inmate Mario Catanio, the man who murdered Los Angeles Firefighter Tom Taylor.

On January 28, 1981, we tragically lost Apparatus Operator Taylor and nearly eight other Firefighters as they battled the fire Catanio set at Cugee’s Restaurant in North Hollywood. Catanio eventually stood trial, and was justly convicted of murder, arson and fraud in the conspiracy to burn down the financially ailing restaurant.

Despite the outrage of Firefighters past and present, not a single mainstream news outlet thought the parole hearing to be worthy of sharing.

You however, felt - and acted, quite differently.

As a result of the earlier blog post, hundreds of you put ink to paper and shared your personal thoughts about this widow- and orphan-maker being loose on our streets.

Your correspondence to the Parole Board made it perfectly clear that those who murder Firefighters will not be allowed to slip from memory. Nor will their evil likes be allowed to sneak silently into our neighborhoods without the voices of the vulnerable being heard.

Thanks to you, Inmate Catanio's parole was denied.

More importantly however, both Firefighters and those they proudly serve can feel safer, knowing that one less murderer is walking the streets of Los Angeles.

The words seem far too simple, but let us please say: Thank You!

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department


Anonymous said...

How sad it is to see our protectors the firefires and police of our nation lose their lives in the line of duty. What is more horrid is the unforgiveness and hatred vendetor that plagues these families who continue to persecute and seek vengence on the offender who has also lost his life as a result of his terrible deed. . Let us examine ourselves and cast the first stone. Let the man go, he served his time.

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Anonymous 5:47,

Thanks for politely sharing your viewpoint, highlighting the fact that many of us in uniform may be too close to this issue to be considered 'unbiased'.

Which is not to say that we don't recognize - even at times embrace such bias, as Tom Taylor was clearly more tangible to us than we might rightfully expect of others.

Then again, we surmise the same could be said for other murder victims and the countless survivors whose hearts ache daily.

That much said, we believe that the men and women of the LAFD have as much (no more and no less) a right to see that Inmate Catanio remains behind bars, as Inmate Catanio has right to actively pursue parole.

Just as firefighters respected the findings and sentencing of the rightfully unbiased jury that heard testimony in 1983, we expect Inmate Catanio to respect the findings of an equally unbiased parole board today.

Again, thanks for visiting the LAFD blog, and for helping many of us consider the diverse viewpoints of others.

In our great nation, the most important diversity of all, is diversity of opinion.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

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