Thursday, April 17, 2014
The Associated Press
(Continued from page 1)
An armed police officer walks past burning houses as firefighters are let back into the area to battle the blaze. A Webster Police officer, Lt. Mike Chiapperini, 43, and Webster firefighter Tomasz Kaczowka, were killed when they responded to the fire. Police say William H. Spengler Jr. set the fire then shot first responders as they arrived. Two other firefighters were wounded. Spengler was found dead from a self inflicted gunshot wound to his head. But not until about 8 homes were destroyed by the spreading fire, Monday December 24, 2012, in Webster, New York.
This 2006 image provided by the Monroe County Sheriff's Department shows William H. Spengler Jr., 62, who served 17 years in prison for the 1980 slaying of Rose Spengler, 92, inside her home. Authorities say Spengler set a house and car ablaze Monday, Dec. 24, 2012 in Webster, N.Y., and then opened fire, killing two firefighters and wounding two others. After exchanging gunfire with police, Spengler also killed himself. (AP Photo/Monroe County Sheriff's Department )
Two of the firefighters arrived on a fire engine and two in their own vehicles, Pickering said. After Spengler fired, one of the wounded men fled, but the other three couldn't because of flying gunfire.
The police officer who exchanged gunfire with Spengler "in all likelihood saved many lives," Pickering said.
The dead men were identified as police Lt. Michael Chiapperini, 43, the Webster Police Department's public information officer; and 19-year-old Tomasz Kaczowka, also a 911 dispatcher.
Pickering described Chiapperini as a "lifetime firefighter" with nearly 20 years in the department, and he called Kaczowka a "tremendous young man."
The two wounded firefighters, Joseph Hofstetter and Theodore Scardino, were in stable condition Tuesday at Strong Memorial Hospital, the chief said. Both were awake and alert and are expected to recover.
Hofstetter, also a full-timer with the Rochester Fire Department, was hit once in the pelvis, and the bullet lodged in his spine, authorities said. Scardino was hit in the chest and knee.
The shooting and fires were in a neighborhood of seasonal and year-round homes set close together across the road from the lakeshore. The area is popular with recreational boaters but is normally quiet this time of year.
click image to enlarge
A Monroe County Sheriff's Department armored truck drops off residents who were evacuated from the neighborhood where two Webster firefighters were killed and two others were wounded by a gunman on Monday morning. Seven houses were destroyed. The gunman died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
AP / Democrat and Chronicle