Added by Erik West on December 24, 2012
A gunman who shot four firefighters, killing two of them, at the scene of an early Monday morning (local time) fire in New York has been found dead. The shooter was found dead as result of a gunshot wound early Monday morning. Officials say the fire may have been started as a trap.
A first responder, a policeman, exchanged fire with the gunman, prompting officials to evacuate the neighborhood to nearby busses. Some residents are said to have watched their houses burn as the events continued to unfold.
The two injured firefighters are listed in guarded condition at a local hospital. One of the injured suffered an injury to his pelvis while the other was shot twice with injuries to his lung and shoulder.
The gunman reportedly started to shoot at firefighters as the single house fire spread to include two other homes and one vehicle – four homes were ultimately destroyed. The firefighters were forced back by the shooting amid the chaos.
The fire started at about 10:30GMT/UTC (5:30am local time) and firefighters were not allowed back to battle the blaze until about 15:00GMT/UTC (10am local time).
The dead are named Lt. Mike Chiapperini, 43, a volunteer firefighter and the Webster Police Department’s public information officer, and Tomasz Kaczowka.
The gunman was found dead, close to where the fire reportedly started. Officials have not said whether the gunshot wound was self-inflicted.
The shooting comes just 10 days after the Sandy Hook in Connecticut shooting that killed 26, including 20 children aged 6-7 years old.