POSTED: 8:55 am EDT May 23,
UPDATED: 12:10 pm EDT May 23, 2007
NEW YORK -- A retired New York City firefighter who survived the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks is now being treated as the victim in an Arizona murder investigation.
Salvatore Princiotta, 43, whose family hails from Deer Park, N.Y., was found dead in his condominium. At first, it was believed he died of post-Sept. 11 lung complications.
However, a coroner now says Princiotta was murdered. The coroner declined to release any other details.
Officers first went to Princiotta's Scottsdale, Ariz., apartment on May 14 after a family member hadn't heard from the former firefighter, police said. Based on the appearance of the body, Princiotta had been dead for many days.
Scottsdale police said they could "confirm that this is a homicide investigation. However, certain details of the case need to be held in confidence to preserve our ability to successfully prosecute the case."
According to a report from NBC 12 news in Phoenix, a death notice published in Newsday on May 18 said the former member of Ladder 9 in Manhattan died "as a result of post 9/11 lung complications."
Princiotta's brother, Joseph, told NBC 12 the news of the homicide probe came as a shock, and that the family expected a medical examination to show that the lung condition had taken Princiotta.
Joseph Princiotta told NBC 12 that his brother had moved to Arizona last January because he found it easier to breathe.
Before his death, Princiotta had cycled 3,000 miles to honor his colleagues who died on Sept. 11.
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