A gunman who shot four volunteer firefighters and killed two of them at the scene of an upstate New York house fire early Monday was found dead of a gunshot wound — a horrific attack that may have been a “trap,” officials said.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said the Christmas Eve blaze in Webster appeared to be a setup to go after first responders who were arriving to the fire just after 5:30 a.m.
Among the fallen is Michael Chiapperini, a lieutenant with the Webster Police Department. He died at the scene.
“It’s a very dificult situation,” said Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering, as he fought back tears during an emotional news conference.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office evacuated the Lake Road neighborhood after the shooter exchanged gunfire with an officer who first responded to the sleepy neighborhood near the Lake Ontario shore east of Rochester. The blaze burned three homes and a car as firefighters fought flames alongside cops searching for the shooting suspect or suspects.
Ultimately, four homes were destroyed and four others were damaged.
Police couldn’t say if the gunman’s injury was self-inflicted. His body was located near the home where the fire began.
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