Gloomy Monday Morning

In the Rochester suburb of Webster (motto: “Where life is worth living”) at least three firefighters were shot while responding to a fire in a neighborhood that’s on a little strip of land between Lake Ontario and Irondequoit Bay, for those of you who know the town. The fire is burning out of control, residents were evacuated on city buses under armed guard, and SWAT is searching for the shooter. The Rochester suburbs have a very strong tradition of volunteer fire departments, so some of the people shot were probably volunteers. Here’s a live feed from local TV for those who have ties to the area.

(The story says two firefighters but local reporters I trust are saying 3 on Twitter.)

Update: The local sheriff reports that two firefighters are dead at the scene and two are in the hospital. Firefighters are fighting the fire, and no active shooting is going on.

59 replies
  1. 1
    MikeBoyScout says:

    FYI, firefighters in Webster, NY are a volunteer force.

  2. 2
    Percysowner says:

    This is horrible and insane. I am waiting for Wayne LaPierre to give another speech saying that the only solution to this kind of tragedy is to require firemen to carry guns at all times in addition to the equipment they need to SAVE people’s lives because heaven forbid that the gun manufacturers don’t get to sell more product out of this madness.

  3. 3
    PeakVT says:

    Thanks for the present, NRA. Assholes.

  4. 4
    Scratch says:

    It’s probably the lack of obviously burly men that led this shooter to attacking them. Also, they don’t do bucket brigades anymore so there was a severe lack of buckets.

  5. 5
    RSA says:

    What a horrible story. Thanks for bringing it to our attention, mistermix. I think that if more people are aware of gun violence, it’s more likely that something will be done about it. This reminds me of war stories about the Red Cross being attacked. What kind of nutcase does this sort of thing in the U.S.?

  6. 6
    patrick II says:

    Guns with special heat-proof bullets.

  7. 7
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    If the firefighters were equipped with assault rifles and had twin 50 cal turret-mounted machine guns on their trucks then they could have easily stopped this maniac.


    When your only tool is a gun then everything looks like it needs a bullet.

    Or 100, depending on your clip, I mean MAGAZINE! size.

  8. 8
    Jack says:

    Someone shot in New York? Why it must be the gun owners in Wyoming who did it! And South Carolina, and Georgia and well – everywhere – they are ALL GUILTY!

    Boy that felt good. Sure solved that case, didn’t we? Now if only Obama would end torture and close Gitmo and put a few banksters in jail like we thought he would.

  9. 9
    Stacy says:

    Very sad to see. I lived in Fairport, NY most of my life but now living in Europe. I’ll bet it is a “domestic” situation. Obviously the volunteer firefighters should have gone in with guns drawn rather than fire hoses.

  10. 10
    Shadows mom says:

    Shooting at firefighters? Seriously, we must find our way to passage of sensible regulations that will help to stem the tide of gun violence. I’ve donated to Brady Campaign, and will be exploring Demand A Plan.

    Regret that the Rochester community is confronting this tragedy; my hope is that the coming year brings some backbone to Congresional lawmakers fo pass gun safety regulations.

    Here in California, the law requires that every gun that changes hands be registered. I’d like to see that requirement on a national level along with liability insurance for ech weapon owned. That proposal might even get the insurance lobby behind gun safety regulations.

  11. 11
    aimai says:

    They really won’t be satisfied until we are all armed just to go to the grocery store. That’s the logic. The more shootings the more they will demand we arm ourselves, the more we arm ourselves the less safe we are. Its a perfect vicious circle where the advertiser creates the need, fills it, and by filling it creates another need.


  12. 12
    PurpleGirl says:

    @RSA: NRA idiot cowards who take personal offense at anything governmental. I’m tempted to say that it sounds like the fire was set to get the firefighters there so they could be shot.

    May the families of the firefighters find some peace and comfort today and always.

  13. 13
    Steeplejack says:

    The common thread in all these incidents, no matter where they happen, and the prime reason why throwing armed guards at the problem is not an adequate solution, is the element of surprise.

    The shooter has planned in advance where and when he is going to attack–even if only far enough ahead to gather his guns and ammo and drive to the venue. On the other hand, any guard at the location is probably bored out of his mind, wondering what the wife is making for dinner and expecting this day to go just like the 300 uneventful days that preceded it.

    So when the shit goes down the chances are that at least a few people are going to get killed before anyone realizes what is happening. You know, like four armed police officers in a coffee shop.

  14. 14
    Stacy says:

    I have slingbox over here in Europe and just saw on the local news that two of the firefighters are dead and one is injured. Horrible.

  15. 15
    jp7505a says:

    iT’S all you wimpy liberals fault. In addition to gunfree school zones you have made fires gun free zones as well. According to the estimeed Bill Bennett the best way to fight gun violence is with more guns. Seems perfectly sensible to be. I’m sure he also recommends that if you build your house on a train track that you make the walls extra strong.

    Maybe Crapo’s drinking is the only soliution. These people have gone way past crazy.

    Latest news – 2 firefighters dead, 2 wounded, unknown number of shooters. The fires contunue to burn because the scene is not secure. Would I be excessively paranoid if I wondered if the fires were deliberately set in order to ambush the first responders? Na, could noy possible happen in the NRA world.

  16. 16
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Jack: You know, it would be easier if you would just completely jettison your conscience. I’m pretty sure LaPierre will give you a free lesson if you buy one more gun.

  17. 17
    cmorenc says:

    So…volunteer firemen should carry heat on their hip to a battle with heat with a hose? Or is it that an armed police officer should be stationed at every home in America? Or should the neighbors have all been packing high-powered firearms and rushed to their windows to try to take out the sniper?

    Holy shit, when will the news media begin treating Wayne LaPierre like the dangerous lunatic he is? When will enough of the NRA’s own membership revolt at allowing such an ass-clown to remain head of the organization?

  18. 18
    redshirt says:

    I’ve got the answer guys: Drones. Drones everywhere, above each individual. Armed drones, of course. With an armed drone for everyone, then we’d finally have our peaceful, non-violent society.

  19. 19
    Jeff(the other one) says:

    @Stacy: I lived in Penfield for several years in the 80s, but haven’t been back there in years. What has happened to that town? Did it go bugfuck nuts?

  20. 20
    cathyx says:

    I’m sick of all these scaredy cats who are so afraid of everything that they think they need a gun with them all the time. What sissies.

  21. 21
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    New York, let God back in!

  22. 22
    gnomedad says:

    1. Mass shooting of X’s.
    2. NRA: arm all X’s!
    3. Profit!!

  23. 23
    gbear says:

    First thing I wondered when I saw the story is if one of the houses on fire belonged to a gun nut and if we were going to hear about a violent explosion when the fire found his ammo stash. Doesn’t sound like that’s what’s happening. This sounds like a domestic gone postal. I feel sorry for the innocents who have lost their lives or their homes. Hope this shooter gets caught pronto.

  24. 24
    wenchacha says:

    @Jeff(the other one): I’m in Penfield now; it’s the next suburb over. Back in February, my son’s best friend was shot to death by a former housemate. He was shot in the back, while he was exiting the home and on the phone to 911 about a dispute he had with the ex-housemate. Severed his spinal cord, but the jury found his killer Not Guilty.

    So yes. I would say the local area has gone bug-fucking nuts.

    And Jack? Fuck you.

  25. 25
    Schlemizel says:

    Merry Fucking Christmas.

    I was a volunteer firefighter for a few years before moving to Florida. This was a scenario that was discussed but never taken seriously. I believe it might have happened before during the hay day of the Weather Underground / Black Panther groups who saw firefighters as just another arm of the oppressive government.

    I never considered it a serious threat in our little suburb. I’m having a dark Xmas already & this does not help

  26. 26
    aimai says:

    Why is no one willing to say the obvious: the gun nuts are determined to make the US a failed state, in which there is no successful monopoly of force by the State and local, non state actors such as gangs, militias, mafias, and war lords can rush in and perform all functions? Remember how they kept saying “The Constitution is Not a Suicide Pact?” Well you are darned tooting the Constitution is not an IED aimed at destroying the State either. You simply can’t devolve the power of life and death to the lowest level of a society and have a society continue functioning.

    If we don’t push back successfully and strip the 2nd amendment we are allowing the Confederate power to win–not the Confederate power because I don’t like it but because it is the Confederate power which fights on the side of “states rights,” “no public education,” “low taxes” etc… because it doesn’t want the goods and services of the national state to be spread to the undeserving–ex-slaves, non whites, poor people, women who are not in patriarchal families. The same people are hoarding guns that are 1) defunding public education, 2) attacking public servants such as police and firemen, 3) defunding mental health services, 4) attacking the very notion of a safety net, 5) attacking the national state.

    At some point the imagined “good gun owners” are going to have to admit that their hobby has been comandeered by some pretty fucking scary people whose goals are not huntin’ and fishin’ with their families but crushing the life out of a functioning modern state and returning us to a balkanized, fragmented, isolated, imagined golden age of lonely independent citizens each warring with the other over land, water, education, and other public goods.

  27. 27
    4tehlulz says:

    @Jack: Nervous gun nut is nervous.

  28. 28
    Napoleon says:


    but the jury found his killer Not Guilty

    On what basis did he argue he was NG?

  29. 29
    PurpleGirl says:

    Most (if not all) small communities and so many moderate sized towns and cities rely on volunteer firefighters. Something like this is bound to reduce recruiting. It’s one thing for a firefighter and their family to have to deal with the potential for injury in the fire fighting, but throw into the mix the potential for being seriously injured or killed and it becomes a wholly different situation.

  30. 30
    marv says:

    Could somebody stop the internets for a minute and let the strange dude Jack off?

  31. 31
    jp7505a says:

    @redshirt: If everyone has a drone with a hell fire missle, the NRA will push for nuclear armed drones for ‘responsible drone owners’. Gotta keep one step ahead of those monsters .

  32. 32
    RSA says:


    I’m tempted to say that it sounds like the fire was set to get the firefighters there so they could be shot.

    That is a horrible but plausible thought. Plausible because we’ve seen that sort of planning in mass shootings before.

  33. 33
    JPL says:

    Wow, I am watching the live feed and it’s horrible.

  34. 34
    MattF says:

    Well, call me crazy, but there’s a problem here. And I don’t think the solution is arming firefighters with semi-automatic weapons.

  35. 35
    Roger Moore says:

    If he’s going to jack off, I want him as far away from the internet as possible when he does it.

  36. 36
    4tehlulz says:

    If there was an armed guard with every fire truck, this would never have happened.

  37. 37
    MattF says:

    @aimai: And, needless to say, it’s safe to assume that Lapierre lives the good life somewhere deep in the Northern Virginia suburbs. Casualties among firefighters, teachers, 6-year olds, movie-goers, and mall shoppers are just the price we pay for freedom.

  38. 38
    wenchacha says:

    @Napoleon: Our friend had been kicked out of the house as a housemate. He returned once to retrieve his belongings and found his room padlocked,and he cut it open. He returned a 2nd time with his mom to retrieve more.

    This third time, he stopped by to get something from his car still in the driveway. He called a 3rd housemate outside to ask about a broken tail light. he then followed third housemate into the home. Once inside, he began to look for belongings. He did not attempt to approach his killer’s room or confront him.

    Coming up from the basement, he was confronted by the killer, and headed to the door, dialing 911. The call recorded him being shot twice in about 4 seconds. He fell face first toward the exit.

    Defense suggested that our friend was a crazy scary drug addict with satanic tatts all over him. Suggested that defendant was afraid of him, and that when he saw our friend in the home was afraid for his life. Jury asked questions about the def of burglary..

    I believe they determined the killer Not Guilty because he was defending his home during a burglary, even though a third housemate was present who knew our friend was in the house.

    DA did not prove intent adequately. But, after the shots recorded on the 911 tape, it was 9 minutes before 911 was called again to report “a break-in.” The body had been moved outside and bled out.

    I don’t know what all transpired in those 9 minutes. The defendant never took the stand, although the DA played about 40 minutes of his interview with a detective. Defendant was on SSI at 23, for disability related to mental illness. My son is aware of him abusing his prescriptions. He was focused on and paranoid about our friend, who was 21. Defendant’s 16 yr old girlfriend was at the house at the time of the shooting, but never called to testify.

    The entire case was poorly handled. ADA who tried the case was a first-timer on a murder trial.

    The whole thing was a giant cock-up. I don’t believe shooting someone exiting your house is self-defense, most especially in this case.

  39. 39
    dmsilev says:

    @4tehlulz: Clearly, we need to start building fire trucks with turret-mounted twin machine guns at each end.

  40. 40
    julie says:

    They had an armed guard at Columbine. Holidays are too hard for too many. I wish I knew the Answer,

  41. 41
    4tehlulz says:

    @dmsilev: Anything less than a Gatling gun is a sign of weakness.

  42. 42
    amk says:

    @Jack: Idiot nra shill will be idiot nra shill. I truly hope you get shot by your own gun.

  43. 43
    Citizen_X says:


    Someone shot in New York? Why it must be the gun owners in Wyoming who did it! And South Carolina, and Georgia and well – everywhere – they are ALL GUILTY!

    Well, it wasn’t Santa’s fucking elves that sold whoever this psycho is the gun, or made certain he would have access to guns, now, was it?

  44. 44
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    What kind of nutcase does this sort of thing in the U.S.?

    A member of the NRA.

  45. 45
    PaulW says:

    The families of those dead firefighters need our comfort right now. I hope the other firefighters stay safe from gunfire the rest of the day they’re trying to stop those fires.

    And to every pro-gun person out there: Fuck You. The Second Amendment does not give anyone the right to shoot anybody they want. And it’s not a fucking requirement to carry: I, and about 200 million fellow Americans, DO NOT WANT GUNS IN OUR LIVES.

  46. 46
    tavella says:

    Prediction: white male, either obsessed gun nut or related to obsessed gun nut, killed his family and then set the house on fire, with the plan of killing the firefighters. Most likely already committed suicide, though if we are unlucky he’s heading towards another target (again, most likely family, friends, or an ex.)

    It doesn’t always turn out that way, but it’s the way to bet.

  47. 47
    cminus says:

    @RSA: Indeed, the largest mass killing in US history, the Bath School Massacre, used that tactic. The perpetrator, an anti-tax zealot who objected to having to pay taxes to support his local school system even though he had no kids, bombed the elementary school — then waited outside with a readied car bomb to kill people responding to the first bombing.

  48. 48
    stratplayer says:

    @Jack: Strawman alert! Do conservatives ever try to engage actual opposing viewpoints?

  49. 49
    jp7505a says:

    I hope Santa has upgraded his sleigh. At least steath technology for those amoung us with stinger anti-aircraft missles. And those twin 50 machine guns would help. Of course he will have to turn Rudolph’s nose off, that would be a dead giveaway in the night sky.

  50. 50
    wenchacha says:

    The reports are that the killer is dead. They haven’t yet been able to fully investigate the crime scene because of the fire, but the house which initially was on fire was occupied at the time, not just a summer house.

  51. 51
    Gex says:

    They aren’t white male terrorists. They are patriots “taking their country back” using “second amendment remedies.” Firemen are union member commies, you know.

    If the NRA wants to talk culture, let’s start talking about conservative straight white Christian men, and the fact that they have largely taken over one party to wage political war on every other demographic, how they consistently trash the idea of community, and how they are the overwhelming share of these spree shooters.

    No? Well, then let’s talk video games and liebruls so we can pretend we care.

  52. 52
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    A member of the NRA.

    Hmmm. The NRA membership wants to file down their own muzzles , or was that snark?

  53. 53
    RSA says:

    @cminus: Suspicion apparently confirmed. Benen:

    Asked about the circumstances, Gerald Pickering, Webster’s police chief, told reporters this morning, “It does appear that a trap was set.” In other words, the shooter set the fire, waited for first responders to reach the scene, and opened fire.

  54. 54
    Ken says:

    @PurpleGirl: That thought did cross my mind as well. Hopefully we’re wrong.

  55. 55
    Ken says:

    My wife and I live down the I-90 (Williamsville) from Rochester. We were outside this morning, with a couple neighbors, waving and applauding the small procession going down our street, with its horns and sirens blowing. It consisted of a couple SUV’s and a firetruck loaded with our local volunteer firemen; one of whom was dressed as Santa Claus atop the firetruck. It’s something that the neighborhood looks forward to each year. In fact, one of our neighbors (across the street and four doors down) is the Assistant Chief, so local means local.

    We came inside, I fired up laptop to see what’s going on in the world, and I see this Webster tragedy. As mentioned previously by commenters, I await NRA response to this.

  56. 56
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    He was shot in the back, while he was exiting the home and on the phone to 911 about a dispute he had with the ex-housemate. Severed his spinal cord, but the jury found his killer Not Guilty.

    Say what now? The jury found the killer not what??

  57. 57
    wenchacha says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I know. They considered 4 different charges of Murder in the 2nd, on down to Manslaughter, and found him Not Guilty on every one. I know I went in with a huge bias. There were times I felt that the Defense Atty was just better presenting his case, but I really thought once they heard and re-heard the first 911 call, they would have to find him guilty.

    I was shocked.

  58. 58

    […] I go away for one day, one damn day, to take my aunt some cheese straws for Christmas, and return to a new list of innocents dead of politeness. […]

  59. 59
    Triassic Sands says:

    Is the goal to make us all grow to despise our own country and its people?

    If so, it’s beginning to work.

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