4 volunteer firefighters shot, 2 killed, in apparent ‘trap’. Gunmen killed.
By Jason White, NBC News
A gunman ambushed four volunteer firefighters who responded to a blaze early Monday in Webster, N.Y., killing two and seriously injuring two others, along with an off-duty police officer.
The firefighters were shot as they exited their vehicles amid a small cluster of homes along Lake Ontario just before 6 a.m. ET, officials said, victims of what may have been a deadly trap.
“It does appear that it was a trap that was set,” said Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering, his voice breaking at times. ‘People who get up in the middle of the night to fight fires, they don’t expected to get shot and killed.”
Pickering lost a colleague in the incident: Police Lieutenant Michael Chiapperini, who was also a volunteer firefighter. The other dead firefighter was Tomasz Kaczowka.
Despite being shot, one of the injured firefighters was able to flee from scene under his own power. But the others remained pinned down on the narrow strip of land between Lake Ontario and Irondequoit Bay until a SWAT team arrived.
After being pursued by police, the apparent shooter was killed by a gunshot wound, Pickering said. It is unclear if the wound was self-inflicted.
The two injured firefighters, Theodore Scardino and Joseph Hofstetter, were being treated for “significant injuries,” according to Dr. Nicole Stassen, a surgeon at the University of Rochester Medical Center. She said both were awake and alert, however, and not on ventilators.
The off-duty police officer was hit by shrapnel after his car took bullets to the windshield and engine block, according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. His condition is unclear at this time.
After the shooting, the fire grew to engulf at four homes and one motor vehicle. Another four homes were damaged.
‘These firemen are part of our family. You go into a fire with these guys. To see them go down with something like this is totally unexpected. We are in shock,’ Billy Gross, fire commissioner for West Webster, told the Democrat and Chronicle.
A follow up to my earlier post on this here:
And I don’t think this was a terrorist ‘jihadi’ attack, either.