UK & World News
Firefighters Shot Dead In House Blaze 'Trap'
Two volunteer firefighters have been shot dead and two others injured when a gunman opened fire as they were responding to a house fire in New York state.
The gunman, named as William Spengler, opened fired on the four men as they arrived shortly after 5:30am on Monday to put out the blaze in Webster, said police chief Gerald Pickering.
Spengler set fire to a car and house to lure the firefighters to his house on the shore of Lake Ontario.
"It does appear it was a trap," an emotional Mr Pickering said at a news conference.
Spengler, 62, had served more than 17 years in prison for beating his 92-year-old grandmother to death with a hammer in 1980 at the house next to where the attack happened.
Police said Spengler died at the scene after shooting himself in the head.
One of the firefighters who died, Mike Chiapperini, was also a town police lieutenant, but it was not clear whether he returned fire.
The other firefighter who was killed was named as Tomasz Kaczowka.
The two wounded firefighters, named as Joseph Hofsetter and Theodore Scardino, remained in a critical condition in hospital.
Police were concerned that Spengler's sister, Cheryl Spengler, was in the house where the fire started, reports said.
Spengler reportedly lived there with his sister and mother, Arline Spengler, who died in October.
An off-duty police officer who was driving past the scene also has injuries from shrapnel, Mr Pickering said.
The fire spread and destroyed six other homes in the quiet lakeside town, around 340 miles (550 km) northwest of New York City.
The gunfire initially kept firefighters from battling the blaze.
The neighbourhood's residents were evacuated and searched by police, and a SWAT team was called to the scene.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the shooting was a "senseless act of violence" and offered his condolences to the victims' families.
"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," he said.
Monroe county sheriff Patrick O'Flynn said: "It's sad to see that that this is becoming more commonplace in communities across the nation."
The shooting in Webster comes 10 days after the shooting rampage at a school in Newtown, Connecticut, in which 20 children and six adults were killed.
The Newtown massacre has revived debate in the United States on the country's gun laws, which are far more lax than in most other developed nations.
what do you think?
No doubt the NRA will be calling for all firefighters to be armed and perhaps a submachine gun fitted to engines alongside the hoses.
Perhaps everyone in the US should carry a gun !
Maybr barack obama will call for fire to be banned also
Now will they do something about the guns????
You would have thought so, but I just see it getting worse, with even more guns being bought!!! I wish they wouldnt though!!!
That's christmassy of the killer. R.I.P.
Not sure why you got thumbs down but take your point Debra
Land of the free.
You mean weapons free! Utter madness!!
Typical Christmas eve in the USA
god bless america,for showing the rest of the world that the right to have a gun doe's not contribute to a peacefull society. r.i.p brave firemen .
Wonder how the death toll from guns in America compares to Syria this year?
America has truely lost the plot
Not certain it's ever had a full grasp of it!
Absolute madness the poor families - R.I.P guys
R.I.P To those brave firefighters just trying to do their job, wonder if the fire was started on purpose to get them there
It would appear that it was a trap - goes to show how low people will stoop just to kill brave firefighters
The one firefighter was a cop in is day job.same thing happed to my uncle and aunty.it was carred out by bloods
What do you expect from the yanks .They wont give up there guns.Until all american are dead. The NRA are the biggest idiots going on this planet. Sorry for all america that have to died until the NRA is outlawed or banned in all states
Guns don't kill people,tanks do
Or rather yanks
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James R McCulloch
This is what America wants... The right to bear arms and suffering the consequences of nutters and deranged people meting out death and destruction. This is what they want let them reap what they sow.
Nyt reports that it was a gang hit .New york is the mostlikley place for a white person to be killed.the gangs run the place cops will not go to some parts of the city
The Yanks are doing a better job than the terrorists at culling themselves.
Such a tragic thing to happen at any time of the year,but at Christmas seems so much nastier. R.I.P
US Government has clearly gone rogue. They are hellbent on removing the Second amendment. Problem is, the people wont stand for it and that will bring in Marshall law. Such a shame these Two brave firefighters are yet more collateral for the Globalists.
Same story repeating it`s self Americans sad people.
And I guess theyll say he was watching violent video games before too, yeh right. RIP