WEBSTER, N.Y. (WIVB) - Volunteer firefighters stepped into a trap Monday morning and two of them lost their life and three others were injured.
Police say William Spengler, 62, ambushed the rescuers and opened fire on them as they showed up to battle a house fire along Lake Ontario, in Webster.
Tomasz Kaczowka , a 911 dispatcher who volunteered his time with the West Webster Fire Department, and Mike Chiapperini was a Lieutenant with the Webster Fire Department who was named Firefighter of the Year two weeks ago. Both men were killed by the shooter.
PHOTOS | See a photo gallery of the victims
Spengler was a convicted felon who spent time in prison for killing his grandmother in 1981. He was released in 1998 and on parole until 2006. Monday he was found dead on a nearby beach with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. As a felon, he was not legally permitted to own a firearm.
Joseph Hofstetter and Theodore Scardino were both injured in the melee and remain in Strong Memorial Hospital Christmas Eve.
Hofstetter was a volunteer firefighter with West Webster Fire Department and Rochester Fire Department. He suffered significant injuries to his pelvis area but is expected to recover.
Scardino was also part of the West Webster Fire Department; he was shot in the chest. His left lung was punctured by the bullet and his shoulder blade is broken in several places. The bullet is still in his chest but will be removed.
Both are in intensive care but are alert and awake.
Monday evening memorials were set up outside of the West Webster Fire Department as friends and loved ones gathered to remember those lost and hurt on Christmas Eve.
An off-duty Greece Police officer, John Ritter, was also injured in the incident. A bullet caused something in his car to break off, injuring him.
The responding firefighters were unable to tend to the fire due to the attack and the fire speed. Seven homes were ultimately destroyed by the blaze as is speed through the neighborhood.
Spengler's sister lived with him and has not been located. Her condition is unknown.
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