WEBSTER, N.Y. (WIVB) - Four firefighters were shot while on scene of a house fire outside of Rochester. Two of the firefighters have died and two firefighters were injured and taken to Strong Memorial Hospital. An off-duty officer was also injured in the incident, but was not directly shot.
Webster Police say the suspected shooter in the early Christmas Eve morning shooting is 62-year-old William Spengler. The suspected shooter has been found dead on the beach, apparently with a self-inflicted wound.
Spengler was convicted of killing his grandmother in 1981. He was in prison until 1998 and on supervised parole until 2006. As a convicted felon, he was not able to legally purchase a firearm.
The shooting took place early Monday morning, while crews responded to a blaze on Lake Road, in Webster.
Law enforcement sources tell Newberg, the initial call was for a car fire. As firefighters from the Town of Webster arrived at the scene, they began taking gunfire. At a news conference late Monday morning, the police chief said, "It does appear this was a trap set for responding first responders."
One of the firefighters killed was Mike Chiapperini, an off-duty police lieutenant from the town of Webster. He served as a volunteer for the West Webster Fire Department. He is on the right-hand side of the included photo, courtesy of Seth Binnix/Messanger Post Media. The second firefighter killed was Tomasz Kaczowka, a 911 dispatcher who is part of the West Webster Fire Department. He is shown on the left-hand side of the photo.
PHOTOS | See photos of the victims here
Joseph Hofstetter was injured, he was a volunteer firefighter with West Webster Fire Department and Rochester Fire Department. Hofstetter remains at Strong Memorial Hospital with significant injuries to his pelvis area. A bullet is imbedded in his spine and will not be removed. He is expected to recover.
Theodore Scardino is also at the hospital, he is also a part of the West Webster Fire Department. Scardino 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.
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 the off-duty officer.
Unable to respond to the car fire due to oncoming gunfire, the fire spread, becoming a raging inferno destroying seven homes by the afternoon. Spengler's sister lived in the home with him and remains unaccounted for.
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