Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering said it appears a trap was set for firefighters and emergency responders when they rushed to the scene of a fire in a lakefront area near Rochester.
“It does appear that it was a trap that was set,” the chief, who held back tears, said at a morning news conference.
Two firefighters were killed during a shooting at the scene, and two others were being treated at Strong Memorial Hospital. Several houses were in flames.
Pickering declined to give many details about the shooting, but said the shooter was dead and was found outside near a home. He said at least one weapon was recovered at the scene, but did not provide specifics.
“Webster is a tremendous community. We are a safe community and to have tragedy befall us like this is just horrendous,” Pickering said.
The dead firefighters are Lt. Mike Chiapperini, 43, a volunteer firefighter and the Webster Police Department’s public information officer, and Tomasz Kaczowka. Chiapperini led the fire department’s explorer program for high schoolers. Both men died at the scene.
“These people get up in the middle of the night to fight fires. They don’t expect to be shot and killed,” Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering said at a news conference just before noon.
The shooter was found dead outside the home where the shootings occurred, killed by an apparent gunshot wound.
Another update is expected at about 2 p.m.
Police said it was a car and house fire that was called into 911 at 5:45 a.m.