Police, Firefighters Attend Funeral for Slain Colleague

The funeral of Lt. Michael Chiapperini was held Sunday

Sunday, Dec 30, 2012  |  Updated 2:38 PM EDT
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Police, Firefighters Attend Funeral for Slain Colleague

Volunteer firefighters, Tomasz Kaczowka (left inset) and Mike Chiapperini (right inset) were killed by a gunman while responding to a fire in Webster, N.Y.

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Fellow police and firefighters choked back sobs as they described Lt. Michael Chiapperini as a friend, mentor and family man at a funeral attended by first responders from across New York and other states.

Chiapperini and fellow firefighter Tomasz Kaczowka were slain by gunman William Spengler in a fiery Christmas Eve ambush in a neighborhood on the shore of Lake Ontario.

At Chiapperini's funeral Sunday afternoon in a local high school auditorium, Webster Fire District Chief James Deisenroth called him a "true hero" and mentor who "gave me the courage and confidence to handle anything."

Bagpipers and drummers played as family, friends and uniformed first responders filed past Chiapperini's flag-draped casket at the end of the service.

Kaczowka's funeral is on Monday.

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