2 First Responders Targeted in a "Trap"
Four Firefighters Shot, 2 Killed, in 'Trap' at Webster, NY, Blaze - ABCNews.go.com
Two firefighters were shot and killed and two others hospitalized after a gunman targeted them as they responded to a fire he is believed to have set to a home and a car in Webster, N.Y., police said.
"It does appear that it was a trap that was set for first responders," Police Chief Gerald L. Pickering said.
SWAT team officers used an armored personnel carrier to evacuate 33 residents from homes in the area.
"Upon arrival all [the firefighters] drew fire, all four were shot on the scene," Pickering said. "One was able to flee the scene. The other three were pinned down."
An off-duty police officer responding to the call was also injured by shrapnel and was being treated.
Pickering said the gunman was dead at the scene, but had yet to be identified. The shooter died of a gunshot wound, but police didn't yet know if "it was self inflicted or not."
The firefighters, all volunteers, continued to fight the blaze that engulfed three other homes and damaged three more on a sleepy street next to Lake Ontario that police described as a quiet vacation community.
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"I know many people are going to be asking if they were assault rifles," Pickering said, following a week-long debate about such weapons after one was used in a tragic school shooting in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14.
Among the dead firefighters was Lt. Michael Chiapperini, a 20-year veteran of the Webster Police Department and "lifetime firefighter," according to Pickering. Chiapperini was a spokesman for the police department, ABC News affiliate WHAM reported.
Police identified the other firefighter killed as Tomasz Kaczowka, who WHAM reported also was a 911 dispatcher.
The chief, choking up, called the incident that shattered the quiet before 6 a.m. on Christmas Eve morning "terrible."
"People get up in the middle of the night to fight fires," he said. "They don't expect to get shot and killed."
Two surviving firefighters were in the intensive care unit at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y. Both men were awake and breathing on their own after surgery and were in what doctors are calling "guarded condition."
Joseph Hofsetter was shot once and sustained an injury to his pelvis and has "a long road to recovery," said Dr. Nicole A. Stassen, a trauma physician.
The second firefighter, Theodore Scardino, was shot twice and received injuries to his left shoulder and left lung, as well as a knee.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a statement calling the attack a "senseless act of violence" and the first responders "true heroes."
UPDATE: 24.12.2012 09:17 CST
CNN Reports Shooter wielding "Assault Type Rifle"
2 firefighters shot, killed while battling New York blaze - CNN.com
updated 10:03 AM EST, Mon December 24, 2012
- Two other firefighters were injured, said police in Webster, New York
- Flames engulfed 3 homes and a vehicle as gunshots stopped firefighters from battling a blaze
- One firefighter escaped from the scene in his own vehicle
Two other firefighters were injured, police in Webster, New York, told reporters.
Authorities believe someone shot at the firefighters shortly after they exited their vehicles, said Rob Boutillier, fire marshal in the town of Webster, New York.
For hours, the gunfire stopped firefighters from working to extinguish the flames and forced police SWAT teams to evacuate homes in the area.
Firefighters arrived at the scene before 6 a.m., Boutillier said. By 9 a.m., flames had engulfed three houses and a vehicle, he said.
Doctors were treating the wounded firefighters Monday morning, said Teri D'Agostino, a spokeswoman for Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York.
One firefighter escaped from the scene in his own vehicle about an hour after he was shot, then was transported to the hospital by an ambulance from another location, Boutillier said. He was listed in satisfactory condition, Boutillier said.
Another wounded firefighter was conscious and speaking when he was removed from the scene, Boutillier said.
"Our main concern right now is to have law enforcement evacuate the people in harm's way (and) make the scene safe for the fire department," Boutillier told reporters. "And then the fire department will go in and do its job."
Rochester-area Firefighter Shot at Scene of Fire - WGRZ
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Webster, N.Y. - A Webster firefighter was shot during a call to a fire on Bay Road in Webster, N.Y., which is located in Monroe County northeast of Rochester on Lake Ontario.
The firefighter, whose name has not been released, was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital, according to Webster Fire Marshal Rob Boutillier.
He is listed in satisfactory condition, Boutillier said.
Other firefighters were also shot at, but at this point, no other injuries have been reported.
"I'm not aware of anything like this happening in Webster, obviously not a firefighter being fired upon, he said.
Firefighters are currently letting the fire, which has spread to another house, burn until the area has been secured, Boutillier said. It is unknown if occupants are inside the houses.
Firefighters were called to the 100 block of Lake Road about 6 a.m. Monday.
Police have set up a staging area for media on Bay Road in Webster as part of the investigation.
A section of Lake Road, including the outlet bridge, has been closed.