Gunman Ambushes Firefighters at House Fire

Firefighters and police ambushed during blaze in Webster, N.Y., leaving two dead.
3:43 | 12/24/12

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Transcript for Gunman Ambushes Firefighters at House Fire
A holiday season already blighted by gun violence has now culminated in this. A group of firefighters ambushed on christmas eve. The men were responding to this fire at dawn. It turned out, though, to be a trap. As soon as they got therhey were picked off one at a time by a lone gunman. Two firefighters were killed on the spot. Two others seriously wounded. The suspect then shot and killed himself. This all went down in the tiny town of webster, new york, on the shores of lake ontario. And so we begin tonight with abc's paula faris. Reporter: The fire broke out just before sunrise. The 9-1-1 call at 5:35 a.M., In sleepy webster new york. Two firefighters sped to the scene in their engine, two others drove their own cars. But when they moved in to battle the blaze, gun fire. Reporting three firefighters injured. One taking cover in a crashed fire truck. Reporter: Police now say it was all a trap. That a gunman was laying in wait for the first responders to arrive. All four firefighters were shot. Firefighter mike chip paperini, who is also a lieutenant with the webster police department, was deceased at the scene. Reporter:43-year-old chipperini was named the webster fire department's firefighter of the year just two weeks ago. These people don't expect to be shot and killed. Reporter: Webster police have identified the gunman as 62-year-old william spengler, whose home burned today. He had a lengthy criminal history, serving 17 years for killing his grandmother with a hammer back in 1980. No word about what his motive was today or where he got his guns. Spengler was a convicted felon. He's not allowed to possess weapons. Reporter: Tonight, two firefighters are in stable condition in the hospital. 33 people were evacuated after the fire engulfed seven homes. It's a shock. That something like this would happen, but -- for some reason, violence is rearing its ugly head in this community. And everywhere. Reporter: Paula faris, abc news, new york. Let's get it out now to alexis arnold, at our abc affiliate. We were so struck by the emotion in the voices of the people holding the news conferences today, when they talk about the people who died today. They're talking about their friends, aren't they? Reporter: Well, that's right. And here you have a situation, they're going to work. They're going to do their jobs. Fight a fire. And on christmas eve, they get shot, just simply doing their jobs. Many of the law enforcement officials we spoke to today, they worked with a lot of these men who are being considered heroes. Every time well cover a shooting and we cover way too many shooting incidents, you hear the same thing. People saying, I never thought it would happen here. But in tiny webster, new york, on christmas eve, that has most definitely got to be the case. So, what are you hearing from the people who live there? Reporter: The neighborhood this took place in is a very nice, safe, quiet neighborhood. So, very shocking to hear that events like this would unfold. Of course, in light of what happened in sanity hook, here we are dealing with a situaf guns and that gun control issue is coming up. Hearts very heavy in this community. Alexis arnold, thank you. Reporter: Thank you. And now to the other big

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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