DETROIT - The flag was lowered at Engine 33 for 59-year-old Detroit fireman David Madrigal Tuesday. Fellow firefighters and friends from firehouses across the city are grieving.
“The mood is very somber here. We’re going to miss him,” said friend and fellow firefighter Mario Gomez of Engine 29.
Detroit police say Madrigal’s son discovered him dead inside his home on Vaughn Monday night. He was sitting in a chair with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to his temple. An autopsy completed on Tuesday determined Madrigal died from blunt force trauma to the head.
“Still just all kind of in shock with what happened. I can’t really – it’s hard to grasp,“ said friend and firefighter Sgt. Paul Atto of Engine 27.
Madrigal’s family and friends removed his prized motorcycles and cars from his home on Tuesday. They say he lived at the house on Vaughn for at least ten years and planned to move when he retired. According to the family, his safe – which was bolted to the floor – was stolen, along with his new Ford Explorer. The SUV was found Saturday before Madrigal’s body was discovered. Detroit police say there are no signs of forced entry at the house.
“We’re baffled. We have no clue,” said Gomez. “Dave would give you the shirt off his back. He really would.“
His friends say the 27 year veteran fireman, father, and brand new grandfather was always smiling. He was set to retire on his 60th birthday in May of 2016.
“He had plans on traveling and doing some things with his family,“ said Atto.
“We were talking about planning his retirement party,” said Gomez. “Now we’re talking about planning his funeral.“
Madrigal’s nickname was “Super Dave” and he was proud of his Mexican heritage. Some friends say Madrigal may have been kind to a fault, but he was a “man’s man” who was dedicated to his family, his job, and his city.
“He was a good guy, hardworking,” said Gomez. “He was fun to be around, always wanting to make you laugh.”
Crime Stoppers of Michigan is offering a $2,500 reward for information on Madrigal’s death.
“We still have a job to do and we’re going to do our job,” said Gomez, “but we’re going to remember Dave. He’s not forgotten.“
“We carry on for Dave,” said Atto, “He would to the same thing for us.”
If you have information that may help investigators, call Crime Stoppers of Michigan at 1-800-SPEAK UP.