Firefighters, police attend funeral of Webster colleague shot dead in Christmas Eve ambush

Mourners place an American flag at a makeshift memorial at the West Webster Fire Station on December 26.

Thousands of firefighters and police from across the United States and Canada paid their respects Sunday to Webster Police Lt. Michael Chiapperini, who was shot dead in an ambush in Upstate New York on Christmas Eve.

The Associated Press reported that the funeral of Chiapperini was held at a high school in the town of Webster where the 43-year-old was a volunteer fireman.

Chiapperini’s 19-year-old colleague, Tomasz Kaczowka, was also shot dead by William Spengler as they responded to a fire that Spengler, a convicted killer, had set.

Two other firefighters and an off-duty police officer were injured in the shooting.

Police, firefighters and state troopers attended the funeral service held in the high school auditorium, the AP said.

USA Today said the police and firefighters “held their hats over their hearts as they passed the flag-draped casket of their fallen brother.”

Kaczowka’s funeral is scheduled for Monday.

So far there is no clear motive as to why Spengler set the death trap for the firefighters, but the Democrat and Chronicle reported that Spengler’s sister’s plan to sell the house they shared had angered him.

The sister, Cheryl, has not been located.

A charred body found in the remains of the house has yet to be identified.