[UPDATES BELOW] Two firefighters were shot and killed this morning when a gunman opened fire at the site of a blaze in the small upstate town of Webster, just outside Rochester on Lake Ontario. Three homes and a vehicle are burning as a SWAT team, state and local police work to secure the scene. The Democrat and Chronicle reports that the gunman "open fired on the first firefighters to respond, striking one in the backside." Multiple firefighters were shot—it's unclear how many—when they responded around 6:30 a.m.; among the wounded, one is currently in stable condition. (Webster police tell one local news station two wounded firefighters are hospitalized in addition to the two who were killed.)

The shooter or shooters remain at large, his or her or their motive unknown. Local residents are being evacuated, and state troopers are searching them and escorting them to waiting buses. “Some people on this bus already watched their houses burn,” one local resident said. “They’re not happy.”

We'll update as more information becomes available.

Update 10:33 a.m.: Sheriff Patrick O’Flynn tells the Democrat and Chronicle that firefighters have resumed battling the blaze.

Update 11:32 a.m.:Local fire commissioners say one of the wounded firefighters was a Rochester firefighter who volunteers in Webster.

Governor Cuomo issued this statement:

State Police and our State Office of Emergency Management are working in conjunction with local law enforcement to respond to the scene of the horrific shooting that occurred early this morning in Webster as firefighters and police responded to a car fire. All of our thoughts and prayers go to the families and friends of those who were killed in this senseless act of violence.

New York's first responders are true heroes as they time and again selflessly rush toward danger in order to keep our families and communities safe. Volunteer firefighters and police officers were injured and two were taken from us as they once again answered the call of duty. We as the community of New York mourn their loss as now two more families must spend the holidays without their loved ones.

One behalf of my family and all New Yorkers, I offer my deepest condolences to the families and friends of those killed today and pray for the recovery of the injured.



Update 12:18 p.m.:

The gunman is dead, Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering tells the Associated Press. According to officials, the unidentified shooter was found dead outside the home where the shootings occurred, killed by an apparent gunshot wound, the Democrat and Chronicle reports.

The victims have been identified as Lt. Mike Chiapperini, 43, a volunteer firefighter and the Webster Police Department’s public information officer, and firefighter Tomasz Kaczowka. Two other firefighters are hospitalized with gunshot wounds, and an off-duty police officer driving near the scene was injured by "shrapnel."

Update 12:46 p.m.:
Still unclear if the alleged gunman was shot by authorities or killed himself. But Chief Pickering tells the Times, "It does appear that it was a trap that was set. Causative reasons, we don’t have at this time.”

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has released a statement that identifies the injured volunteer firefighters as Joseph Hofsetter and Theodore Scardino, and the injured police officer as John Ritter.