Cleveland | What's behind violence against firefighters?

CLEVELAND -- Veteran Cleveland firefighter Ted Wright's mysterious shooting death left his colleagues stunned.

"It's almost numbing. I don't know if it's fully sunk in with me yet," said firefighter union President Frank Szabo.

For the second time in about six months he was praising a much respected brother firefighter gunned down with no solid clues apparent.

Lt. William Walker was shot and killed in the driveway of his East Side home. The case remains unsolved.

And there's been two incidents of gunfire aimed at a West 25th Street firehouse with one shot narrowly missing a firefighter. No arrests yet there.

"There's so little information out there," said Szabo.

Wright was described as a dedicated firefighter less than a year from retirement.

"It's heart-breaking," said department spokesman and firefighter Larry Gray, who once worked with Wright.

"Outstanding guy, very community-oriented and very engaged. He exemplified what we're looking for in young firefighters," Gray said.

There's been no official statement that the incidents have any connection.

But until more information's out there, questions remain.

Gray and Szabo stressed that the main goal now is to support Wright's widow and three children.

He was a much beloved volunteer at St. Albert's Catholic Church.

Visitation for Wright will be 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday at Tomon & Sons Funeral Home in Middleburg Heights. The funeral mass will be Monday morning at 11:30 at St. Albert's Church in North Royalton.

Flags are at half staff at Cleveland fire stations, and counseling is available for Wright's colleagues.

"The bond is there. He's like your brother. When you get a call where you respond to a situation and that person is not with you, it's like you lose a part of yourself," Gray said.

Firefighting is a dangerous profession, but firefighters want to know where the outside danger targeting some of them is coming from and why.


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