Honoring the Webster Heroes

January 7, 2013 Updated Jan 7, 2013 at 11:05 PM EDT

By Rachel Elzufon

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January 7, 2013 Updated Jan 7, 2013 at 11:05 PM EDT


Webster, NY (WKBW) - Monday morning, Webster police honored four of their own who protected first responders in the Christmas Eve Ambush.

Officer Park Reed, the first to arrive, was able to fire back at William Spengler, slowing his attack.

Sergeant Kevin Hall set up a shield to protect wounded firefighters.

Two others, officers Shaun Welch and Doug Pollock, set up a perimeter that ensured Spengler could not get away.

Police say Spengler set fire to his car and house and positioned himself up in a low-lying area. From there, he shot at the responding volunteer firefighters. Spengler was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The ambush killed Webster Police Lieutenant Mike Chiapperini and Monroe County emergency dispatcher Thomasz Kaczowka. Both were also volunteer West Webster firefighters.

Firefighters Theodore Scardino and Joseph Hofstetter were also injured and recently released from Strong Memorial Hospital.

There is a growing effort in Webster, and now nationwide, to see the four firefighters attacked to received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

A petition circulating to urge President Obama to award the four firefighters with the Medal of Freedom already has 25-thousand signatures.

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is also stepping forward to lend his support -- and is urging President Obama to expedite reviewing this request.

Schumer says "These are amazing people, they're sort of like our soldiers. They volunteer to risk their lives, to protect our safety. That's what soldiers do."

The Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian award in the country.