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UPDATE: At the 11:45 AM EST briefing Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering identified the four firefighters shot this morning, including the two who died. All are members of the West Webster Fire Department. The two firefighters killed are:
Mike Chiapperini, who was also a lieutenant and PIO with the Webster Police Department
Tomasz Kaczowka, also a 911 worker.
The wounded are:
Joseph Hofstetter, also a career firefighter with the Rochester FD (was wounded in the pelvic area)
Theodore Scardino (wounded in left shoulder and right knee)
The gunman, who has not been identified, is dead at the scene from a gunshot wound. It is unclear if he was hit be police gunfire or the wound was self inflicted. A weapon has been recovered.
The call came in at 5:35 AM for a report of a house and vehicle fire. West Webster FD responded with one engine carrying two firefighters. Two other firefighters responded in their personal vehicles. When they arrived they were met with gunfire. Chief Pickering says it appears it was a trap. The firefighters were pinned down but one of the wounded firefighters was able to escape, apparently in his own vehicle.
An off-duty Greece, NY police officer, Jon Ritter, stopped to assist and was wounded by shrapnel.
The fire started around 5:30 a.m. at 191 Lake Rd. near Bay Rd. and when the first responders arrived, a gunman opened fire on them.
In an afternoon press conference, Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering said one of the firefighters was able to escape in his private vehicle, while the others remained pinned down for around an hour.
The dead are Lt. Mike Chiapperini, 43, a volunteer firefighter and the Webster Police Department’s public information officer, and Tomasz Kaczowka. Chiapperini led the fire department’s explorer program for high schoolers. Both men died at the scene. Kaczowka, in his early 20s, is also a 911 dispatcher.
The injured firefighters are Joseph Hofsetter and Theodore Scardino. Hofsetter suffered a severe injury to his pelvis. Scardino was shot twice, injuring his shoulder and lung.
Outside the West Webster Fire Department on Gravel Road, fire district commissioners Pat Morris and Billy Gross described a somber scene inside. At 10:45, the flag outside was lowered to half-staff.
One of the firefighters shot, but not killed, was a Rochester firefighter who volunteers in Webster, the commissioners said. The department has about 125 volunteers.
One of the firefighters was able to escape on his own. The other three firefighters were pinned down at the scene and were rescued by SWAT team.
Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputies say that the shooter was found dead near the scene. They did recover a weapon. They believe the shooter acted alone.
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Still image from WHAM-TV live feed at 10:43 AM EST.
Also on STATter911 …
- Update from Webster: Latest news & videos on the murders of two firefighters & wounding of two others during ambush at house fire. – December 25, 2012
- UPDATED: Killer of firefighters left note. William Spengler wrote he was doing ‘what I like best: killing people.’ Human remains found at home. – December 25, 2012
- A must listen. Extreme courage under fire. Calm & deliberate radio transmissions from firefighters wounded in Webster, NY. – December 24, 2012
- Webster police officers tell their stories of ambush. Return fire by first cop on scene cited with saving lives. Police chief talks about motive. – January 8, 2013
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