Posted at: 01/07/2013 4:37 PM
Updated at: 01/07/2013 5:21 PM
By: Christine VanTimmeren
At a news conference Monday, Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering talked about new revelations in the investigation of the horrific shootings that happened on Lake Road in Webster on Christmas Eve.
Chief Pickering said from the time the shooter fired at first responders to the time the last shot was fired, it was only about five minutes. The distance between the first responders on the street and the shooter who was hiding was only a matter of 30 to 40 feet.
Chief Gerald Pickering, Webster Police Chief, said, “The shooter felt that he would have unchallenged opportunity to kill our firefighters.”
Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering told News10NBC the shooter did not anticipate police presence at the fire he started on Lake Road. He thought he would only encounter unarmed firefighters. But as is the policy with all EMS and fire calls, a police officer did respond. That police officer was Officer Mark Reed.
Chief Pickering said, “When Officer Reed, a three year veteran of the Webster Police Department, arrived at the scene, he exited his patrol car and observed two firemen fall to the ground.”
And as Officer Reed stood there, he would see another first responder fall to the ground. His instincts kicked in. He was the one who grabbed his gun and fired at the shooter, shocking him enough to stop the assault.
Chief Pickering said, “He took cover behind a north-west corner of a house and notified dispatch. The first responders were taking fire from an automatic weapon.”
It was then the police chief said three other officers arrived on scene, Sgt. Kevin Hall, Officer Shaun Welch and Officer Doug Pollock. All three helped set up a perimeter around the area to keep the shooter where he was. But at that time, the firing had stopped, the shooter had been chased from his original location and no one knew where he went.
Chief Pickering said, “The officers that responded that night said it was an incredibly black night, that they couldn't see anything.”
But the horror eventually ended, and as the sun rose, daylight revealed the shooter had taken his own life on the beach, a matter of five to six minutes that changed Webster and Rochester communities forever.
Chief Pickering said, “When the shooter was located, so was a rifle, a shotgun, a handgun and over 400 rounds of ammunition. Police officials are certain that they may have been used, had it not been for the heroic efforts of these four officers and countless others who responded to the incident that day.”
Officer Mark Reed was not at the news conference, but he did release a statement saying, “This is the profession I have chosen like many other police officers in Monroe County and tens of thousands nationwide. Our job is dangerous and we do our best to protect the people in jurisdictions we patrol. I thank God I was there that morning of December 24 and that I had the tools to engage the suspect. Please continue to pray for all the families affected by the tragedy.”
Chief Pickering said that Officer Reed fired six rounds at the shooter. He did take a few days off following the tragedy, but has since returned to duty.
Two years ago, Reed was awarded “Officer of the Year”. Chief Pickering says there's no doubt in his mind he will be receiving that award again.