Firefighters Ambushed on Christmas Eve

Discussion in 'What's On Your Mind?' started by DavyV., Dec 24, 2012.

  1. DavyV.

    DavyV. Rochester NY Police Corruption Blog

    By Davy V.

    Two Webster, NY firefighters responding to a fire on Lake Rd. have been shot and killed.

    Two more have been injured, and are at Strong Memorial hospital in guarded condition.

    While details of the shooting are still coming out, reports are that the Webster, NY Fire department responded to a call for a structure fire on Lake Rd. around 6:00 am Monday morning.

    When firefighters arrived on the scene, gunfire rang out, killing two and injuring the other two firefighters.

    As of 11:00 am, three homes and a vehicle were burning.

    News channels are reporting that Monroe County, NY Sheriff's deputies have located one shooter.

    Homes in the area are being evacuated.

    SWAT Teams are also on scene.

    I will updating this story.


    There are reports

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  2. DavyV.

    DavyV. Rochester NY Police Corruption Blog

    William Spengler​
    Paroled in 1998 after serving 18 years for​
    killing his 92-year old Grandmother with a hammer​

    By Davy V.
    The cousin of 62-year old William Spengler, the Webster, NY man who ambushed four firefighters, killing two, when they responded to a 911 call for a house fire, reached out to me today, to see if I could help her find out if her cousin Cheryl was in the fire.
    The woman, who follows my blog, and who preferred to remain anonymous at this point, told me that her cousin William Spengler, or as she calls him, "Billy", lived at 191 Lake Rd. with his sister Cheryl.
    "I have not heard what has happened to my cousin Cheryl, she lived in the house with Billy", she said.

    "Their mother, my aunt, died a couple of months ago, leaving them living there alone, and it wasn't an ideal situation. It was a very volatile living situation", said the woman, from her East Rochester, NY home.

    She added, "I was told Cheryl slept with a gun next to her bed as she and Billy did not get along and she feared him. They lived together and did not ever talk to one another, they both had psychological issues, I am devastated over this tragedy and to hear of all the innocent lives that were taken and people's homes burned to the ground, I just can't believe this."

    Here's what is known so far.

    Around 6:00 a.m. Monday morning, Webster, NY firefighters Mike Chiapperini, a 20 year veteran of the Webster, NY Police department, who was off-duty and responded as a volunteer firefighter, Tomas Kaczowka, a 911 operator and part-time firefighter, Theodore Scardino and Joseph Hofstetter, an off-duty Rochester, NY firefighter, all responded to a 911 call for a structure fire at 191 Lake Rd.

    According to Webster, NY Police Chief Gerald Pickering, it was then that William Spengler, from up top of a berm, ambushed the unsuspecting firefighters.

    "At this time it appears that it was a trap, there was a house fire and a car fire, probably set by Mr. Spengler, who then laid in wait with armament and then shot the first responders", said Pickering said at a news conference, choking back tears.
    Mike Chiapprini and Tomasz Kaczowka were both deceased at the scene.
    Theodore Scardino and Joseph Hofsetter were both taken to Strong Memorial Hospital in nearby Rochester, NY.
    Scardino suffered serious injuries to his left shoulder and chest, with what Dr. Nicole Staffen described in a press conference as his shoulder blade broken in multiple places and injuries to his left lung.

    Staffen also stated that Scardino still had "missiles" in the front part of his chest.

    Hofsetter suffered a serious pelvic injury.

    Also injured in the shooting was John Ritter, a Greece, NY Police officer who was on his way to work, and was hit by shrapnel.

    As for the shooter, William Spengler, he served 18 years in the New York State department of Corrections for the 1980 murder of his grandmother.

    Spengler killed the 92-year old woman with a hammer.

    Paroled in 1998, Spengler was on parole supervsion until 2006.

    William Spengler was found dead nearby with what is believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

    Seven homes burned down and at least 30 people were evacuated from the area.

    At the press conference, Chief Pickering said police has not yet been able to enter the home.

    He did confirm that Spengler's sister is missing.

    Late Monday it was reported that William Spengler had four whiskey bottles full of gasoline, which were found leaning up against the house.

    It is believed that the fire was started when Spengler fired a flare gun.

    That flare gun was also found on the scene.

    Also recovered were a pistol, a shotgun, and a semi-automatic AR-15 type rifle with 30 shot magazine capabilty.

    One of the magazines was spent, and three more unspent.

    The AR-15 is the same rifle used in the December 14th Newtown, Connecticut Elementary School shooting which left 20 children dead.

    It's also the same rifle used by James Holmes, in the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting in which 58 people were shot and 12 killed.

    Many questions remain, including where Spengler, a convicted felon prohibited from possessing firearms, obtained what is believed to be a rifle used in the ambush.

    New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo described the Christmas Eve tragedy as a "horrific shooting" and a "senseless act of violence."

    I will be updating this post as soon as more information is available.

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  3. DavyV.

    DavyV. Rochester NY Police Corruption Blog

    By Davy V.
    What's left of 191 Lake Rd. where William Spengler lived.

    For the first time since the Christmas Eve Ambush which killed two firefighters and seriously injured two more in Webster, NY, Lake Rd. has been re-opened to traffic.

    I went to the scene early today and saw firsthand where this tragedy happened.

    I took photos and video and will be updating this post.

    191 Lake Rd.​

    Click Play to watch video.


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  4. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

    The burning question in my mind remains:

    "Which psychotropic drug was this perpetrator taking?"

    When we know that, we know the rest of the story.
    nachtnebel likes this.
  5. DavyV.

    DavyV. Rochester NY Police Corruption Blog

    By Davy V.

    Tonight I attended the Vigil for the Webster, NY Firefighters who were ambushed as they responded to a fire on Christmas Eve.

    Click Play to watch the full video.

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  6. DavyV.

    DavyV. Rochester NY Police Corruption Blog

    Dawn Nguyen being led away in handcuffs,
    by a New York State Trooper.
    Photo: Jamie Germano, Gannett
    By Davy V.

    There has been an arrest in connection to the West Webster, NY firefighters shot on Christmas Eve.

    24 year old Dawn Nguyen was arrested at her home and arraigned in Federal Court around 4:30 p.m. Friday afternoon.

    Nguyen was charged with falsifying a business record.

    Photo: Jamie Germano, Gannett.
    She is accused of lying when purchasing a shotgun, and the AR-15 rifle that William Spengler used to shoot West Webster, NY firefighters Tomasz Kaczowka, Mike Chiapperini, Joseph Hofsetter, and Theodore Scardino.

    Kaczowka and Chapperini died on the scene.

    Hofsetter and Scardino suffered serious injuries.

    Authorities say that Nguyen and Spengler went to Gander Mountain Sports in Henrietta, NY on June 6, 2010, and that Nguyen purchased the Bushmaster and a shotgun for Spengler, but lied in forms, saying the firearms were for her.

    Nguyen and her mother were neighbors of Spengler in 2008.

    I will be updating this post

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  7. DavyV.

    DavyV. Rochester NY Police Corruption Blog

    Tomasz Kaczowka​
    By Davy V.

    Rochester, New York's Democrat and Chronicle newspaper broke down the timeline of the initial firefighter and police response to the Christmas Eve ambush of West Webster, NY firefighters Tomasz Kaczowka, Mike Chiapperini, Joel Hofstetter and Theodore Scardino.

    The newspaper gathered the information based on recorded scanner communication, as well as interviews with eyewitnesses.

    Here is the timeline from the Democrat and Chronicle newspaper:

    5:36 a.m., Dec. 24: 911 receives first call regarding 191 Lake Road for a vehicle fire that has spread to a house.
    Mike Chiapperini​

    5:37 a.m.: Engine 125 responds from the West Webster Fire Department. Pumper 124 follows shortly after.

    5:40 a.m.: A second 911 call comes about the fire. Sea Breeze Fire Department in Irondequoit is asked to respond for assistance. A volunteer firefighter, believed to be Theodore Scardino, is in his own vehicle behind the firetrucks. Off-duty Greece Police Officer John Ritter is on his way to work, driving westbound on Lake Road a few hundreds yards behind the firetrucks.

    5:42 a.m.: A firefighter on Engine 125 announces that they’ve arrived at the scene. Seven seconds later, an unidentified Webster police officer is radioing for help: “We have EMTs down here. Start an ambulance. Don’t know if there are tires popping or gunshots.”

    Ritter’s vehicle is struck by gunfire as he comes around the curve near Castaways restaurant. He does not see the firetrucks but sees another vehicle, possibly belonging to Scardino, backing up toward him and stopping on the south side of the road.

    Ritter pulls his car to the north shoulder, sees a hole in his windshield, checks himself for injuries, and hears what he now realizes are shots being fired. His vehicle is partly disabled, but he drives in reverse back toward the intersection of Lake Road and Bay Street. “I knew this area, and I knew there was only one way in and one way out,” he later said. Ritter stops other volunteer firefighters who are responding to the scene and prevents them from entering the area.

    5:43 a.m.: The Webster police officer reports that he has taken cover near 169 Lake Road and can see the shooter to the north of the road, on a large berm.

    5:44 a.m.: The Webster officer reports firing four shots at the suspected shooter, but doesn’t know whether he struck the suspect or not. (An autopsy of the suspect’s body later only found a self-inflicted gunshot wound.)

    Firefighter Scardino radios that he has been shot and is using the fire engine for cover. “Multiple firemen down. Multiple firemen shot. I am shot. I think using an assault rifle.”

    5:45 a.m.: The Webster officer sees a police car coming east across the outlet bridge and warns him not to enter the scene.

    5:46 a.m.: The Webster officer begins heading east toward Castaways, looking for the shooter.

    5:47 a.m.: Scardino reports that he’s been shot in the lower back and lower leg and needs urgent medical attention. He reports that two other firefighters are dead in the street.

    Irondequoit police report that they’ve secured the outlet bridge to the west and are sending two five-man crews across.

    5:48 a.m.: Scardino radios other responders to warn them against coming to rescue him.

    5:50 a.m.: Dispatchers call for help from the Coast Guard and the Border Patrol.

    5:51 a.m.: Scardino reports seeing two neighbors who have taken cover in his personal vehicle nearby.

    5:52 a.m.: Officers report that they have not heard any gunshots for several minutes.

    5:53 a.m.: Badly injured, firefighter Scardino makes his way to his personal vehicle and escapes to a staging area near the outlet bridge.

    5:57 a.m.: Emergency crews set up a command post at Lake and Bay roads, a half-mile east of the house fire.

    5:58 a.m.: An unidentified officer reports hearing a single gun shot north of the road.

    6:02 a.m.: Border Patrol agents help to secure the outlet bridge and assist the Webster officer who has taken up a position along the north side of Lake Road.

    6:06 a.m.: Officers on foot slowly close in around the last known location of the shooter. Monroe County Sheriff deputies and troopers from the New York State Police are on the scene.

    6:11 a.m.: Webster police officer and border patrol agents begin searching the beach looking for the shooter, moving east.

    6:15 a.m.: Residents coming out of their houses are being told by officers to go back inside.

    6:29 a.m.: Emergency crews in Irondequoit report that injured firefighter Joseph Hofstetter has made his way to the rescue crews at the outlet bridge

    6:35 a.m.: SWAT team begins to assemble at a location on Bay Road.

    6:36-6:50 a.m.: State Police helicopter and units on the ground try to identify multiple individuals on foot in the area.

    6:37-6:58 am: Dispatchers call for all units on the scene to identify themselves and state their location in a radio roll call.

    6:54 a.m.: SWAT team moves their Bearcat armored vehicle and emergency evacuation team into the scene to begin extracting the injured.

    7:01 a.m.: The Hyper-Reach system is activated to notify residents to stay in their homes, advising residents to stay in place.

    7:11 a.m.: Police and SWAT detain some individuals who are running from the scene. They’re later identified as residents.

    7:17 a.m.: Police stop several civilian vehicles attempting to leave the area and search them.

    Approximately 9:30 a.m.: Deputies are frisking residents as they remove them from the neighborhood. The residents are taken to buses waiting in Irondequoit. Firefighters move in and begin to fight the fire, which has now spread to several adjacent houses.

    9:49 a.m.: Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering tells the media that four firefighters were shot and two are deceased.

    Approximately 10 a.m.: Police report the scene is secured. The shooter’s lifeless body was spotted by a State Police helicopter on the beach.

    11:55 a.m.: Chief Pickering confirms that one of the firefighter’s killed is Mike Chiapperini, who also served as a lieutenant with the Webster Police Department. The other deceased firefighter is identified as Tomasz Kaczowka, who works as a Monroe County 911 dispatcher. The chief also says the shooter was found dead and his weapons were recovered. The wounded firefighters are identified as Joseph Hofstetter and Theodore Scardino.

    12:30 p.m.: Chief Pickering says that 33 residents were evacuated and that four houses were fully engulfed in flames. (The final total was seven houses destroyed by the fire and two others rendered uninhabitable.)

    2:15 p.m.: At an afternoon press briefing, Chief Pickering identifies the suspected shooter as William Spengler, 62, who had been convicted of killing his grandmother in 1980. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Spengler’s sister is still unaccounted for.

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  8. DavyV.

    DavyV. Rochester NY Police Corruption Blog

    Dawn Nguyen​
    By Davy V.

    In 1980, William Spengler grabbed a hammer and smashed his 92 year old grandmother's head in.

    Rose Spengler was found at the bottom of her basement stairs.


    William Spengler was convicted of first-degree murder.

    He was sentenced to 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison.

    Despite Spengler being unremorseful, even telling a parole board that his appearance at a hearing was "a waste of time", Spengler was released in 1998, after just 17 years.

    Only 17 years for a vicious crime against a 92 year old woman.

    A woman, who as one parole board hearing officer described, had 'not much left' of her head, which medical reports said was struck by the hammer as many as 13 times.

    On Christmas Eve, 2012, William Spengler armed himself on top of a berm, on the shores of Lake Ontario, across from the Lake Rd. home where he killed his grandmother.

    Spengler then ambushed West Webster, NY firefighters Tomasz Kaczowka, Mike Chiapperini, Joel Hofstetter and Theodore Scardino as they responded to a call for a fire.

    A fire which Spengler had intentionally set.

    Tomasz Kaczowka and Mike Chiapperini died at the scene.

    Hofstetter and Scardino suffered serious injuries.


    A very sensitive issue.

    One which many people would rather not discuss or even go near.

    Except me.

    Those who know me and follow my work as an activist and writer, know that I ask the questions which many don't ask, and which many more don't want to address.

    If William Spengler had been Black or Latino, would he have served only 17 years for viciously beating his grandmother to death with a hammer?

    I think not.

    In fact I would bet that not only would he have served the full 25 years in prison, but most importantly, I believe if William Spengler had been a Black or Latino man, he would have been charged with murder.

    Not manslaughter, like Spengler was.

    Despite all those who refuse to admit that race absolutely plays a part in how defendants are dealt with in the criminal justice system, from defendants to inmates, it does.

    In a 2005 report by the Sentencing Project, a non-profit organization engaged in research and advocacy on criminal justice policy issues, a study into the disparities in the way that Blacks and Latinos are treated by the criminal justice system, when compared to whites, found the following:

    • There is evidence of direct racial discrimination (against minority defendants in sentencing outcomes);

    • Evidence of direct discrimination at the federal level is more prominent than at the state level;

    • Blacks are more likely to be disadvantaged in terms of sentence length at the federal level, whereas Latinos are more likely to be disadvantaged in terms of the decision to incarcerate;

    • At the state level, both Latinos and blacks are far more likely to be disadvantaged in the decision to incarcerate or not, as opposed to the decision regarding sentence length.

    • Young black and Latino males tend to be sentenced more severely than comparably situated white males;

    • Unemployed black males tend to be sentenced more severely than comparably situated white males.

    • Blacks pay a higher “trial penalty” than comparably situated whites;

    • Whites receive a larger reduction in sentence time than blacks and Latinos for
    providing “substantial assistance” to the prosecution;

    • Blacks and Latinos with a more serious criminal record tend to be sentenced more
    severely than comparably situated whites;

    • Blacks are more likely to be jailed pending trial, and therefore tend to receive
    harsher sentences;

    • Whites are more likely to hire a private attorney than Latinos or blacks, and therefore receive a less severe sentence.

    • Black defendants who victimize whites tend to receive more severe sentences than both blacks who victimize other blacks (especially acquaintances), and whites who victimize whites.

    • Latinos and blacks tend to be sentenced more harshly than whites for lower-level crimes such as drug crimes and property crimes;

    • However, Latinos and blacks convicted of high-level drug offenses also tend to be more harshly sentenced than similarly situated whites.

    And if you have any doubt whatsoever just how much race matters... consider this:

    Dawn Nguyen, the Greece, NY woman who was arrested and charged in connection with purchasing the firearms for William Spengler, including the Bushmaster AR-15 Spengler used in the Christmas Eve ambush, was released WITHOUT HAVING TO POST ANY BAIL.
    How can a woman charged with providing firearms to a convicted felon who in turn shot four firefighters and killed two, walk out of court without any bail, less than a half hour after being arraigned?

    She's NOT Black or Latina.
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  9. DavyV.

    DavyV. Rochester NY Police Corruption Blog

    By Davy V.

    The Christmas Eve ambush of four West Webster, New York firefighters, which left two dead, has drawn international media attention, and coverage to the town just east of Rochester.

    On Monday December 24th, West Webster. NY firefighters Tomasz Kaczowka, Mike Chiapperini, Joel Hofstetter and Theodore Scardino responded to a fire set by 62 year old William Spengler.

    Upon arriving, Spengler opened fire from on top of a berm on the shore of Lake Ontario.

    Kaczowka and Chiapperini died at the scene.

    Hofstetter and Scardino suffered serious injuries.

    These men are the real definition of heroes.

    They responded that cold Christmas Eve morning ready to save lives.

    Two of them lost theirs.

    The response and support not only from the community, but from throughout the country, and the world, for these men, has been a beautiful thing.

    At a candlelight vigil held on the corner of N. Main St. And Route 250 in the town of Webster which I covered, a West Webster Fire official read off just a few names of more than 60 countries, who had offered their condolences, including the United Kingdom, Japan, Ireland and France.

    Locally, support has been described as 'overwhelming.'

    Many say that one good thing that has come out of such a senseless tragedy, is that it has brought people together, and has brought out the best in people.

    Sadly, it has also brought out the worst in some.

    Take, for example, a photographer at the funeral of firefighter Tomasz Kaczowka, on Monday December 30th at St. Stanislaus Church in Rochester, NY.

    As I was photographing and recording the services outside the church, awaiting Tomasz Kaczowka's casket to arrive on board a West Webster fire engine, a photographer began yelling at an African-American freelance photographer from Buffalo, NY.

    'Move! Move back!'

    At first, I didn't really pay much attention to him as I knew he was not talking to me, since I was about 10 feet away from him.

    Then he continued, only this time in a very angry tone, demanding that the young man move, before yelling at him, 'You were in my (expletive deleted) shot!'

    All this, less than 50 feet away from the front doors of the church, where firefighter Tomasz Kaczowka's casket had just been carried in, and within earshot of a sea of first responders paying respect to a fallen hero.

    This photographer, who I have not yet been able to identify, represents what is wrong in today's society.

    No respect, and a 'get out of my way, it's all about me' attitude.

    The fact that he behaved like this, in of all places, a funeral for a young man who paid the ultimate price as an unselfish hero, who responded that day ready to save lives, makes it even more disgusting.

    It's really sad just how ignorant some people are.

    In the video below, which I started recording after he had used profanity, the photographer becomes furious with me when I not only defend the young man, but also call him out for his unprofessional conduct, including swearing at a funeral.

    At one point he says to me 'You're not even supposed to be here', and even questions whether I received some sort of 'special clearance' which I didn't need, even if I didn't have my press credentials, which I did.

    Time and time again, throughout the country we have seen cases such as Emily Good's, the Rochester, NY woman who was arrested by RPD officer Mario Masic after after videotaped him conducting a traffic stop, where it's usually law enforcement who violates citizen's first amendment rights by questioning, prohibiting and in some cases arresting them for videotaping and photographing police.

    But, you would think that a photographer would be the last person to question my right to take photos on a public street.

    The reason why I went to document a very tragic and sad event was so that thousands of others who couldn't be there can see it on the Internet.

    People like this Houston,Texas woman who left the following comment on the video of the funeral for firefighter Mike Chiapperini, which I also covered and posted on my YouTube channel: DavyVTV.

    The woman wrote:

    'Well I for one thank you for recording this. My husband and I wanted to be there, I looked up flight tickets to see if we could go. My husband is firefighter for the Houston Texas Fire Department. We couldn't afford to fly up there after all and finding a flight right after Christmas was near impossible and the few I did find were way over priced for us. At the same time, on Christmas Eve, we had one of our police officers shot and killed, his funeral was yesterday as well so I attended that.'

    If you recognize this photographer, and know his name please contact me.

    Click Play below to watch a video where I address this man's conduct, especially his use of profanity at a funeral.

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  10. DavyV.

    DavyV. Rochester NY Police Corruption Blog

    Dawn Nguyen​
    By Davy V.

    Dawn Nguyen, the 25 year old Greece, NY woman charged in connection with the Christmas Eve ambush of four West Webster, NY firefighters, pleaded not guilty in Henrietta, NY Town court.

    Nguyen is accused of lying when purchasing a shotgun, and the AR-15 rifle that William Spengler used to shoot West Webster, NY firefighters Tomasz Kaczowka, Mike Chiapperini, Joseph Hofsetter, and Theodore Scardino.

    Kaczowka and Chapperini died on the scene.

    Hofsetter and Scardino suffered serious injuries.

    Authorities say that Nguyen and Spengler went to Gander Mountain Sports in Henrietta, NY on June 6, 2010, and that Nguyen purchased the Bushmaster and a shotgun for Spengler, but lied in forms, saying the firearms were for her.

    As an ex-con who served 18 years in prison for killing his 92 year old grandmother by bashing her head in with a hammer, Spengler was not allowed to possess firearms.

    Nguyen and her mother were neighbors of Spengler in 2008.

    The Henrietta, NY charges come as a result of Nguyen filing the false papers at the Henrietta sports store.

    Nguyen's case was waived to a grand jury.

    If convicted, Nguyen faces 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison.

    In addition to the state charges, Nguyen, who was originally arrested by New York State
    police on December 28th, also faces federal charges.

    At the arraignment for the federal charges, immediately after her arrest, Nguyen was released without having to post any bail.

    At the arraignment for the state charges, Nguyen once again walked out without having to post any bail.

    Despite the seriousness of the charges Nguyen is facing, and the nature of the crimes committed where two innocent men lost their lives with a firearm Nguyen purchased for an ex-con who intentionally set a fire then waited for the firefighters to arrive, ambushing them, the fact that two separate judges have allowed this woman to walk in and out of court without having to post any bail, is disgusting.

    These judges have done for Dawn Nguyen, what is never done for an African-American or Latino defendant.

    Had Dawn Nguyen been Black of Latina, best believe not only would she have had to post bail, but the bail would have been so high, she'd still be sitting in jail.

    Click Play to watch as I ask Nguyen's lawyer, Matthew Parrinello, for comment as to why his client didn't have to post bail.

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