Tue January 8, 2013
Schumer urges Medal of Freedom for four Webster firefighters
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer is joining the effort to gain the Medal of Freedom for the four firefighters ambushed in West Webster on Christmas Eve day. WBFO's Eileen Buckley says Schumer is calling on the President to fast-track the process and grant the medals.
An online petition was posted December 28 on a government Website. West Webster volunteer fire firefighters Michael Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka died when a resident opened fired with an assault rifle as they tried to battle a blaze. Two others were injured.
"These are amazing people. They are short of like our soldiers. They volunteer to risk their lives to protect our safety," said Schumer.
While appearing in Buffalo Monday, Senator Schumer said he's joining the 25,000 citizens that already signed the petition. It calls on President Obama to grant the Medal of Freedom -- the highest civilian honor.
"They demonstrated such bravery in order to protect their community. They deserve such an honor. And I am urging the President to promptly and quickly review the request and grant it," said Schumer.
Armed with a semiautomatic rifle, 62-year-old William Spengler set a fire and shot at the firefighters as they battled the blaze before turning the gun on himself. A 24-year-old Rochester woman was recently charged for lying during a purchase of two guns used in the rampage.
Schumer said the ultimate decision on granting the medals is up to the President. The online petition states the "brave men" were ambushed by a coward.