Two Webster Firefighters Dead, Gunman Identified

December 24, 2012 Updated Dec 24, 2012 at 5:09 PM EDT

By WKBW News

December 24, 2012 Updated Dec 24, 2012 at 5:09 PM EDT

WEBSTER, NY (WKBW) - Volunteer Firefighters and Webster Police members, Mike Chiapperini and Tomas Kaczowka were shot and later died at the scene.

The fire happened on Lake Road in the suburb of Webster, another two firefighters were also shot.

The other two responders, Theodore Scardino and Joseph Hofsetter, are being treated at Strong Memorial Hospital and are both listed in guarded condition in the intensive care unit.

Officials at Strong Hospital said Scardino was shot two times, once in the shoulder and once in the knee. Hofsetter was shot in the pelvic area.

A fifth responder, off-duty police officer John Ritter, was injured by shrapnel at the scene.

Police confirm that the gunman opened fire on firefighter crews as they arrived on scene.

The gunman, 62-year-old William Spengler, was found dead near the property where the original fire began. Spengler died of a gunshot wound, which was self inflicted. The weapons were found at the scene.

He was a convicted felon, and did almost 18 years for the manslaughter of his grandmother.

Chief Pickering said of how the guns might have been acquired by Spengler, "He was a convicted felon, so yes, he had the guns illegally."

The fire spread to seven houses, which were destroyed.


"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."


“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.”