The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

December 25, 2012

Man who killed 2 firemen left note on killing plan

(Continued)

WEBSTER, N.Y. —

A police armored vehicle was used to recover two men, and eventually it removed 33 people from nearby homes, the police chief said. The gunfire initially kept firefighters from battling the blazes.

The dead men were identified as police Lt. Michael Chiapperini, 43, the Webster Police Department's public information officer; and 19-year-old Tomasz Kaczowka, also a 911 dispatcher.

Pickering described Chiapperini as a "lifetime firefighter" with nearly 20 years in the department, and he called Kaczowka a "tremendous young man."

Kaczowka's brother, reached at the family home Monday night, said he didn't want to talk.

The two wounded firefighters, Joseph Hofstetter and Theodore Scardino, were in stable condition Tuesday at Strong Memorial Hospital, the chief said. Both were awake and alert and are expected to recover.

Hofstetter, also a full-timer with the Rochester Fire Department, was hit once in the pelvis, and the bullet lodged in his spine, authorities said. Scardino was hit in the chest and knee.

Cathy Bartlett was at a vigil Monday night with her teenage son, who was good friends with Kaczowka. Bartlett's husband, Mark Bartlett, has been a firefighter there for 25 years but missed the call this morning.

"Thank God my husband slept through the first alarm and didn't get up until the second one went off," she said.

The shooting and fires were in a neighborhood of seasonal and year-round homes set close together across the road from the lakeshore. The area is popular with recreational boaters but is normally quiet this time of year.

"We have very few calls for service in that location," Pickering said. "Webster is a tremendous community. We are a safe community, and to have a tragedy befall us like this is just horrendous."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the State Police and Office of Emergency Management were working with local authorities.

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