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Two Firefighters Shot and Killed in Suburban Rochester, Two Others Wounded

Photo provided by Monroe County Sheriffs Office

Four firefighters were shot while responding to a blaze on Lake Avenue in the town of Webster, just east of Rochester, and two are dead. The assailant is also dead.

Monroe County Sheriff Patrick O'Flynn told WXXI's Julie Philipp what happened this morning....

One of the deceased firefighters, Michael Chiapperini, was also a Webster police lieutenant. Visibly choked up, town of Webster police chief Gerald Pickering said Chiapperini was a 20-year veteran of the police department. Tomasz Kaczowka, a 911 dispatcher, was also killed.

The two hospitalized firefighters, identified as Joseph Hofstetter and Theodore Scardino, are listed in guarded condition in Rochester's Strong Memorial Hospital, one shot in the lung, the other in the knee. A fifth victim, an off-duty town of Greece police officer, was injured by shrapnel while driving by the scene.

The shooter was found dead where the shootings occurred, killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was identified as 62 year old William Spengler, and he had served 17 years in prison for manslaughter in the beating death of his grandmother.

Police evacuated residents in the neighborhood, and were searching homes as they were vacated. Sheriff O’Flynn said that neighboring residents were able to return to their homes after they were evacuated by police....

Obviously we have a crime scene down in that area of the bay and lake that we're actively investigating and processing. However, we're trying to get people back as quickly as possible. We did evacuate all the neighbors in the area, and set up perimeters to be able to insure the safety of the rest of the community.

The blaze, originally in one house and a car, has destroyed four homes and damaged four others.

Mark Wozniak, WBFO's local All Things Considered host, has been at WBFO since mid-1978.
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