Four firefighters were shot, two fatally, in upstate N.Y., on Monday while responding to a house fire.
The firefighters were responding to a fire affecting a house and car around 6 a.m. in the Webster area. The suspect began to fire shots at the firefighters upon their arrival. One man was able to escape the scene, while the other three were stuck. Authorities now believe the suspect set up the fire as a trap to lure the firefighters in, according to CNN.
Two of the firefighters, Lt. Mike Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka, died almost immediately. A SWAT team then came in and rescued the remaining man on the scene. The two firefighters who were wounded, Theodore Scardino and Joseph Hofsetter, were brought to the intensive care unit at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y.
According to CNN, officials have not identified the suspect, who was found dead at the scene. According to The Huffington Post, the suspect died of a bullet wound, however it’s not clear as to whether or not the shot was self-inflicted.
The fire spread to four other houses although it’s not known yet if anyone was injured by the fire. An off-duty police officer was hit by shrapnel while driving by, and hospitalized, according to The Huffington Post.
SWAT teams are allegedly evacuating 33 neighbors out of the area by armored vehicle, according to The Huffington Post.
This creates even more sensitivity to the gun control issue, debates over which have exploded since the Newtown shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School almost two weeks ago.
A main issue in the debate is banning certain types of riffles, mainly semiautomatic riffles such as the Bushmaster AR-15 used in the Sandy Hook and the Aurora, Colo., movie theatre shootings, according to CBS.
It’s unclear what type of weapon the shooter used on the firefighters, according to The Huffington Post.
Opponents to the proposed ban on semiautomatic weapons argue that with a semiautomatic weapon you have to pull the trigger to fire each shot; a fully automatic weapon, on the other hand, will continue to fire bullets as you hold the trigger. Fully automatic weapons are already illegal, according to CBS.
They also argue that guns can be used to counteract potential shooters, such as in the Oregon Mall shooting where a civilian carrying a concealed weapon pointed his gun at the shooter. After Nick Meli, 22, heard gun shots being fired, he pointed his gun towards the killer. At that point the shooter killed himself and the shooting spree ended, according to local Portland news channel KGW.
Another gun amendment gun advocates call for is to allow college students to carry concealed weapons legally on campuses. Students for Concealed Carry is a student-run, national organization that fights for the right for students to be able to legally carry concealed weapons on college campuses for self-defense.
Certain universities, such as the University of Montana, allow weapons on campus only if the students abide by strict rules. The students must keep their weapons in a locker on campus, which they can check out to go hunting, but can’t bring them to class or into their residence halls, according to Montana’s Independent Record.
Those opposed to allowing students to carry concealed weapons argue that campuses are much safer without permitting weapons. According to Armed Campuses, about 93 percent of violent crimes that target college students occur off-campus.