Christmas Eve Tragedy
This is horrible.
In the wake of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, many of us consoled ourselves by saying, “That doesn’t happen in my town.”
Well, now it has. At 5:30AM a call was received reporting a house and car fire.
When firefighters arrived on the scene, a gunman opened fire on them. Two were killed on the scene, two were rushed to Strong Hospital and spent two days in guarded condition. A police officer on his way to work in nearby Greece was hit by shrapnel that narrowly missed his heart.
The shooter, William Spengler, Jr., was convicted in 1981 of murdering his own grandmother with a hammer. Obviously, as a convicted felon, his access to firearms was legally restricted. The FBI is currently tracing how he came to possess them.
Spengler left a suicide note which indicated that his plan was to lure firefighters by setting his own home ablaze, and take a sniper position in order to ”…do what I like doing best, killing people.” The remains of his sister, who had been missing, have been found in the fire-ravaged house.
Because of the gunfire firefighters were unable to contain the blaze, and seven houses in the neighborhood have been destroyed. The Westboro Baptist Church, notorious protesters at many sites of American suffering (military funerals, Long Island post-Hurricane Sandy, Newtown) has already planned a protest for the upcoming weekend.
The two firefighters wounded in the attack, Joe Hofstetter and Teddy Scardino, recently upgraded in status to “satisfactory,” today released a statement in which they implore, “Please consider directing any acts of kindness toward others in the community who also need your compassion during this holiday season.”
The two firefighters killed, Lt. Michael Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka, will be laid to rest this weekend.