The Webster firefighters who responded to a structure fire in Lake Road early this morning found themselves fired upon by an as-yet-unknown assailant. By the time police secured the scene, two firefighters were dead and two others were hospitalized with gunshot wounds and three structures and a vehicle were engulfed in flames.
The police say they are no longer looking for an active shooter and as of 10:00 am, the uninjured Webster firefighters were attempting to control the flames.
UPDATE (12:00 pm): Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering, who teared up during the press conference, told reporters that two firefighters responded to the call on the engine and two responded in their personal vehicles. One managed to flee the firefight on his own, but the other three were pinned down and two were rescued by SWAT. Firefighters Tomasz Kaczowka and Michael Chiapperini (also a lieutenant with the Webster police department) were found dead at the scene, Theodore Scardino was shot and was in surgery at the time of the press conference and Joseph Hofsetter was injured. An off-duty police officer who was driving by at the time of the fire received shrapnel injuries and required treatment. SWAT evacuated 33 residents. Four homes were fully engulfed and firefighters were still fighting the fire as of noon, and four additional houses sustained damage. The shooter is believed to be deceased at the scene but is unidentified at this time. “It does appear that it was a trap that was set for responding first responders,” Pickering said. The shooter died from a gunshot wound “but we don’t know whether it was self-inflicted or not,” he added. Police don’t know if there are victims inside the homes destroyed by fire, but Pickering said that they were occupied and there were reverse 911 calls made to advise people to shelter in place during the firefight.
UPDATE (12:11 am): The off-duty police officer injured by shrapnel at the scene was Greece, NY police officer John Ritter, according to WHEC.com.