Suspect In Slaying Of 9/11 Hero Dies In California

POSTED: 11:10 am PDT May 26, 2007

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A suspect wanted in the slaying of a retired New York City firefighter in Scottsdale fatally shot himself Friday night after being cornered in California, authorities said.

The name of the 56-year-old male suspect was being withheld until relatives could be notified, according to Sgt. Mark Clark, a Scottsdale police spokesman.

The suspect was located at a motel in San Bernardino, Calif., and fled on foot when approached Friday night by Scottsdale police detectives and deputies from the San Bernardino Sheriff's Office, Clark said.

After a short chase, the suspect pulled out a gun and committed suicide, Clark added.

Scottsdale police had been investigating the death of Salvatore J. Princiotta, whose decomposed body was found in his condominium on May 14 after a worried family member called to report they hadn't heard from him in a while.

Princiotta, 43, responded to the Sept. 11 attacks while serving as a New York City firefighter in 2001 and had moved to Arizona because he suffered from lung problems.

The death was later ruled a homicide after authorities determined Princiotta died of gunshot wounds. The motive for the slaying still is unclear, according to police.

During his 15 years with the New York City fire department, Princiotta was part of a unit that received the Thomas R. Elsasser Memorial Medal. The award is given each year to a fire company that demonstrates skill and bravery.

Princiotta's body recently was given a police escort on a fire engine to Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport, from where it was flown back to New York for funeral services.

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