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3 die in fire shooting

Dec. 24, 2012 at 4:26 PM   |   Comments

WEBSTER, N.Y., Dec. 24 (UPI) -- A gunman who served time for killing his grandmother set a trap for firefighters in Upstate New York Monday and opened fire, killing two, police said.

William H. Spengler Jr. 62, the alleged shooter, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head outside the burning home in Webster, The (Rochester) Democrat and Chronicle reported.

The dead firefighters were identified as Lt. Mike Chiapperini, 43, and Tomasz Kaczowka. Chiapperini was a volunteer firefighter and the public information officer for the Webster Police Department. The two were among the first to arrive at the fire, which broke out at 5:45 a.m., The Democrat and Chronicle reported.

Two other firefighters, Joseph Hofsetter and Theodore Scardino, were injured. They were reported in guarded condition at Strong Memorial Hospital. Greece police officer Jon Ritter, who was driving near the scene, suffered a shrapnel injury to his arm and left chest.

"These people get up in the middle of the night to fight fires. They don't expect to be shot and killed," Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering told a news conference.

Police said Spengler spent 17 years in prison for the beating death of Rose Spengler, 92, in 1980.

Because firefighters were unable to fight the fire after the shooting started, seven other homes also were engulfed in flames and were destroyed.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman each sent condolences in separate statements.

"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," Schneiderman said.

Topics: Andrew Cuomo
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