WEBSTER, N.Y. - Authorities say two firefighters have died, two others injured, in addition to an injured off-duty officer after they were shot while responding to a fire at a suburban home on 191 Lake Rd. in Webster.
Webster Police confirm when firefighters arrived around 6 a.m. Monday at the scene of a fire just east of Rochester - they wereunder fire at time of arrival. Two firefighters responded to fire in an engine, and two others by car.
All four were shot; one was able to flee while three others were pinned by the shooter. SWAT teams moved in and were able to remove two of those pinned.
Two firefighters were dead at the scene, and two are being treated at Strong Memorial Hospital.
Mike Chiapperini (Deceased) – West Webster Fire Department and Webster Police Lieutenant
Tomasz Kaczowka (Deceased) – West Webster Fire Department and a 911 Dispatcher
Joseph Hofsetter (Injured) – West Webster Fire Department and Rochester Fire Department
Theodore Scardino (Injured) – West Webster Fire Department
John Ritter (injured) - Off-duty Greece police officer; injured by shrapnel
Each victim was a member of the West Webster Fire Department, but most had other primary jobs elsewhere.
Hofsetter suffered a single gunshot wound to the pelvis and is in stable condition, while Scardino was shot twice - once in the left shoulder and a second time in the right knee and listed in guarded condition. Both are awake and alert according to hospital staff.
A fifth individual, off-duty Greece police officer John Ritter, was injured by shrapnel.
The gunman was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He has been identified as 62-year-old William Spengler.
According to police, it is possible Spengler's sister is missing. They are currently investigating.
In 1980, Spengler was arrested, charged and convicted in the death of his grandmother. He served 18 years and was then paroled. Webster Police say that this time they believe there has been no recent contact between the shooter their law enforcement officials.
Police say 33 residents were removed from surrounding area.
Firefighter's were initially unable to respond to the blaze until the scene was secured – allowing the fire to spread. Four homes were fully engulfed by the fire, and four additional homes sustained damage.
The scene has been secured and firefighters are fighting the blaze.
The chief of police did say that there is a possibility that the fire was a trap to draw first responders for an attack.
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