Updated 01/07/2013 05:00 PM
Webster Police Officer Credited With Saving Lives
We're learning new details about what happened in that tragic Christmas Eve shooting that killed two West Webster firefighters and injured two others. Police are crediting the heroic work of some of their own for saving many more lives that day.
"Fire dispatcher to West Webster, mutual assist. Report of a house on fire, 191 Lake Rd."
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"Vehicle on fire, house is catching as well."
West Webster firefighters were dispatched to Lake Rd. in the early morning hours of December 24th.
"125 on scene reporting car with exposure problems."
Following Webster Police Department protocol, several Webster Police officers responded to the scene as well.
"The officers who responded that evening say it was an incredibly black night, that they couldn't see anything," said Chief Gerald Pickering.
Pickering said Officer Mark Reed, a three-year veteran of the department, got to the scene ahead of the fire truck.
"Start a couple ambulances, you got a couple firefighters down in the road."
Officer Mark Reed issued a statement regarding his involvement, saying in part:
"I thank God I was there that morning of December 24th, 2012 and that I had the tools to engage the suspect. Please continue to pray for all the families affected by this tragedy."
Firefighter and Webster Police Lt. Mike Chiapperini had been shot and killed at the scene. So had firefighter Tomacz Kaczowka.
Firefighter Ted Scardino had been shot in the shoulder and the leg. Firefighter Joseph Hofstetter had been shot in the pelvis.
"I'm taking cover now... He's going to be across the street from the fire."
Chief Pickering says Reed saw the muzzle flashes from shooter William Spengler's gun. Reed shot back. Reed then saw Spengler start to run, but was unsure where he'd gone. He radioed back everything he could, stopping others from coming into the line of fire.
"Shots fired on my end. He went down. I don't know if I hit him or not. He's by a tree."
"The actions of Officer Mark Reed directly impacted the decisions of the shooter. The shooter never anticipated an immediate police response to this fire. The shooter felt that he would have an unchallenged opportunity to kill firefighters," Pickering said.
Webster Police Sergeant Kevin Hall arrived on scene. Using a ballistic shield, he moved in to check on firefighter Kaczowka and realized he had died. Hall went back to his car to get his police rifle.
More officers arrived. Webster police officer Shaun Welch and Irondequoit police officer Doug Pollock took posts near the waterfront. All of them helped establish a perimeter.
"When the shooter was located, so was a rifle, a shotgun, a handgun, and over 400 rounds of ammo. Police officials are certain they would have been used had it not been for the heroic efforts of the four officers and countless others who responded to the incident that day," Pickering said.
Investigators say Spengler shot off at least 38 rounds that were accounted for. They believe that number is closer to 58, but many of the spent casings are probably lost in the rocks at the scene.
Spengler eventually shot and killed himself.
Chief Pickering says from the first shots fired to that last and final one, it was all of about five to six minutes; five to six minutes that so many families, this department, and this community will never forget.
"I've said this before, we're bent, we're broken a little bit, but we're strong we're going to pull together and move forward," Pickering said.
Officer Reed is back to work. Chief Pickering says the department has put him in for Officer of the Year.