In the U.S., a former inmate set fire to a house and a car. When the volunteer fire department came to extinguish the fire, he shot two firefighters.
Warm and un-Christmasy: The burning house. Image: reuters
A former inmate ambushed several firefighters in the U.S. state of New York on Monday and shot two of them. The 62-year-old had previously set fire to a house and a car in the early morning. He then opened fire on emergency personnel rushing to help, according to police. Two other firefighters and a passerby were injured. After a shootout with police, the man killed himself.
The perpetrator had spent more than 17 years in prison for beating to death his 92-year-old grandmother in 1980. He was released on parole in 1998 and has lived inconspicuously ever since, according to authorities.
The shooter apparently lured the firefighters into a trap, a police spokesman said. "These people get up in the middle of the night to put out fires. They don’t expect to be shot at and killed." A motive for the crime was not initially known.
Firefighters had been called to a house fire in Webster on the shore of Lake Ontario early that morning. Because of the gunfire, police used an armored truck to pull more than 30 residents of the neighborhood to safety from the flames.
The first police officer to arrive at the scene of the fire gave chase to the suspected shooter. In the process, a gun battle ensued, authorities said. The policeman probably saved the lives of many people, said the local police chief, Gerald Pickering. A total of seven houses were destroyed, he said. Pickering said it was not yet clear whether there were other victims in them.