• Firefighters were responding to fire in Webster
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman in response to the shootings today in Webster that killed Webster police officer, Lt. Michael Chiapperini, and Monroe County 911 dispatcher Tomasz Kaczowka, and injured volunteer firefighters Joseph Hofsetter and Theodore Scardino, and Greece police officer John Ritter.
"Following this senseless tragedy, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who have lost their lives in the line of duty, heroically protecting the communities they serve. The contributions made by the fallen and injured officers in Webster will never be forgotten. As this investigation unfolds, we stand with our partners in law enforcement to ensure that lethal weapons are out of the hands of dangerous people, so that the brave New Yorkers who risk their lives every day to protect us are not exposed to additional danger."
A gunman ambushed four volunteer firefighters responding to an intense pre-dawn house fire Monday morning outside Rochester, shooting four and killing two before ending up dead himself, authorities said.
The gunman fired at the firefighters when they arrived shortly after 5:30 a.m. at the blaze near the Lake Ontario shore in Webster, town Police Chief Gerald Pickering said. The first Webster police officer who arrived exchanged gunfire with the suspect, authorities said.
One of the two dead firefighters is also a town police lieutenant; it wasn't clear whether he returned fire. An off-duty police officer who was driving by has injuries from shrapnel, Pickering said.
Two wounded firefighters were in critical condition at a Rochester hospital, authorities said.
The fire started in one home and spread to two others and a car, officials said. The gunfire initially kept firefighters from battling the blazes. Police say four homes were destroyed and four damaged.
The West Webster Fire District learned of the fire early Monday after a report of a car and house on fire on Lake Road, on a narrow peninsula where Irondequoit Bay meets Lake Ontario, Monroe County Sheriff Patrick O'Flynn said.
The fire appeared from a distance as a pulsating ball of flame glowing against the early morning sky, flames licking into treetops and reflecting on the water, with huge bursts of smoke billowing away in a brisk wind.
Monday's shooting and fires occurred 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, O'Flynn said.
STATEMENT FROM GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO
“State Police and our State Office of Emergency Management are working in conjunction with local law enforcement to respond to the scene of the horrific shooting that occurred early this morning in Webster as firefighters and police responded to a car fire.
“All of our thoughts and prayers go to the families and friends of those who were killed in this senseless act of violence.
“New York's first responders are true heroes as they time and again selflessly rush toward danger in order to keep our families and communities safe. Volunteer firefighters and police officers were injured and two were taken from us as they once again answered the call of duty. We as the community of New York mourn their loss as now two more families must spend the holidays without their loved ones.
“One behalf of my family and all New Yorkers, I offer my deepest condolences to the families and friends of those killed today and pray for the recovery of the injured.”