NEW YORK—Four firefighters were shot on Monday, December 24 while responding to a vehicle and house fire in upstate New York. Two of the firefighters died at the scene. Investigators at the scene say that the shooter may have set a trap to lure first responders. The shooter who has yet to be identified, also died at the scene. It is unclear whether the shooter died by police gunfire or by an inflicted gunshot wound.
The incident took place in the Rochester-area town of Webster where firefighters first arrived on scene just before six a.m., when the unidentified shooter took aim at the first responders and opened fire.
“It does appear that it was a trap that was set,” said Police Chief Gerald Pickering.
According to Pickering, two firefighters died at the scene and two firefighters remain in intensive care. An off-duty police officer also suffered shrapnel wounds.
One firefighter fled from the scene in a personal vehicle after being shot and was later taken to a hospital from another location an hour later.
For three hours firefighters and other first responders watched as SWAT teams evacuated more than 33 people from homes in the area. In that time, the threat of more gunfire hindered their ability to keep the flames from spreading to four more houses.
The type of weapon that was used in the shooting has not yet been disclosed.
“I know that many people are going to be asking, ‘Were they assault rifles?’ “I don’t know that. I can’t answer that at this time,” Chief Pickering told the press.
West Webster’s firefighting force is a completely volunteer department.