Firefighters' group laments ‘senseless and cruel’ shooting

The International Association of Fire Fighters on Monday released a statement lamenting the “senseless and cruel” violence by a “cold-hearted maniac” that left two firefighters dead and two wounded in western New York early this morning.

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“The calculated shooting of fire fighters in Webster, New York, is both senseless and cruel,” the Washington, D.C.-based group said in a statement. “The fire fighters who responded today were performing a selfless, meaningful service to their community, unaware that a cold-hearted maniac was planning to ambush them and take their lives.”

Details of the shooting are still emerging, but the Associated Press is reporting that a gunman ambushed the volunteer firefighters at an early morning blaze near Rochester, killing two, wounding two. The gunman is also dead, but authorities have not said how he died.

Rochester Police Chief Gerald Pickering said at a news conference the fire was an apparent trap to lure the firefighters to the area.

“These people get up in the middle of the night to go put out fires; they don't expect to be shot and killed,” he told reporters.

It’s the latest in a string of high-profile shootings in the U.S.

On Dec. 14, 26 people were killed, including 20 children, when a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

“Coming on the heels of the horrific tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, and on Christmas Eve, this shooting is even harder to comprehend,” the IAFF statement continued. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives in the line of duty today and we pray that those who were injured make speedy recoveries.”