Seven weeks ago, Michael Chiapperini was in Long Island, helping those suffering after Superstorm Sandy. Two weeks ago, he was named "Firefighter of the Year" for his department in his upstate New York town of Webster.
Monday, he was dead.
A gunman -- later identified as William Spengler, 62 -- apparently set his home ablaze, took up a position on a nearby berm, then shot and killed Chiapperini and fellow firefighter Tomasz Kaczowka. Two other firefighters were wounded, as was an off-duty police officer who was driving through the area.
Why Spengler, an ex-felon who killed his grandmother in 1980, committed these crimes is unknown.
But authorities say there's no doubt about the quality of the people he killed on Christmas Eve.