WEBSTER, N.Y. (AP) -- 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 (TOH’-mahz kah-CHOOV’-skah) 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.