Webster, N.Y. --- On Christmas Eve morning Webster Police Sgt. Kevin Hall was responding to the fire scene on Lake Road and learning through emergency communications that a gunman was firing on firefighters as they arrived.
"You can only imagine the chaos there between the fire, and you're hearing shots and there’s fire personnel on the ground, and there's a fire truck is crashed to the side of the road,” Sgt. Hall recalled of that moment he arrived on scene. “It was just, it was absolute chaos.”
West Webster Firefighters Mike Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka were killed at the scene. Firefighters Ted Scardino and Joe Hofstetter were wounded by the gunman’s bullets.
It was Webster Police Officer Mark Reed who arrived on scene before the first fire truck. Gunman William Spengler did not open fire until that fire truck arrived, and shortly after that Officer Reed returned fire with the assault rifle issued to him in his patrol car.
"He (Reed) saved I can't tell you how many lives he probably saved because as they said this guy was prepared to keep shooting,” Sgt. Hall said of Reed’s actions. “(We) probably would've lost a lot more fireman and then the policemen responding to help the firemen, if we didn't have the advantage that Mark Reed gave us. We probably would've lost some of ours. So he saved a lot of lives.”
The advantage Officer Mark Reed provided was something that Sgt. Hall used in an effort to save one of the fallen firefighters. Hall grabbed a ballistic shield from his patrol car and with Reed engaging the gunman, who was perhaps forty feet away, Hall made his way towards Tomasz Kaczowka.