UPDATE: NY Firemen's Killer Left Chilling Note, Deaths at 3

By: The AP
By: The AP

WEBSTER, N.Y. (AP) -- Residents of a suburban Rochester, N.Y., neighborhood gutted by a fire set by a man who gunned down four volunteer firefighters have been allowed to return to their homes.

Local media outlets report that authorities began letting homeowners return to their properties in Webster on Tuesday, a day after 62-year-old William Spengler shot four firefighters, killing two, after setting the pre-dawn blaze that destroyed seven homes along Lake Ontario and damaged two others.

Some of Spengler's neighbors described how they were awoken early Monday morning by gunfire nearby, followed by the arrival of police SWAT team members who used an armored vehicle to evacuate more than 30 residents.

Police say Spengler's body later was found near his home. Authorities say the ex-convict died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.


WEBSTER, N.Y. (AP) -- Police say an ex-con who killed two firefighters in upstate New York had the same caliber and make military-style rifle used in the Connecticut school massacre.

Webster police also say 62-year-old William Spengler typed a note pledging to burn down his neighborhood and do what he liked doing best, "killing people."

Police Chief Gerald Pickering says Spengler, who served 17 years in prison for manslaughter in the 1980 hammer slaying of his grandmother, set his house afire before dawn Christmas Eve before taking a revolver, a shotgun and a 223-caliber semiautomatic Bushmaster rifle to a sniper position outside. The chief say "He was equipped to go to war, kill innocent people."

Authorities say Spengler sprayed bullets at the first responders, killing two firefighters and injuring two others who remain hospitalized in stable condition. He then killed himself as seven houses burned on a sliver of land along Lake Ontario.

Today, the death toll rose to three as police revealed that a charred body believed to be the killer's 67-year-old sister, Cheryl Spengler, was found in his fire-ravaged home.



WEBSTER, N.Y. (AP) -- Police In Webster, N.Y., say the man who lured firefighters to their deaths in a blaze of gunfire left a typewritten note saying he wanted to burn down the neighborhood and "do what I like doing best, killing people."

Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering said Tuesday that the man's sister hasn't been found yet. He said 62-year-old ex-convict William Spengler armed himself with three weapons and set his house afire to lure first responders into a death trap.

Two firefighters were shot dead and two others are hospitalized. Spengler killed himself as seven houses burned around him Monday.



UPDATE: Authorities will look for more victims in homes that burned during attack on firefighters

WEBSTER, N.Y. (AP) -- Police don't yet know if there are other victims in the homes that burned near Rochester, N.Y. early today.

They say the fire was set by an ex-con in order to lure firefighters to his neighborhood -- and that when they arrived, he opened fire, killing two firefighters and wounding two others. He then took his own life.

Police say William Spengler had served more than 17 years in prison for beating his 92-year-old grandmother to death with a hammer in 1980, at the house next to where today's attack happened. He was paroled in 1998, and authorities say he had led a quiet life since then.

Seven homes ended up burning after Spengler set a car and a house on fire this morning. The gunman's sister, who lived with him, is unaccounted for.

The two wounded firefighters are in guarded condition at a hospital. Both are awake and alert and are expected to recover.

Authorities haven't yet determined what prompted the attack.

FIRE-SHOOTING: EMERGENCY RADIO

Chilling emergency audio from NY fire, shooting

WEBSTER, N.Y. (AP) -- Emergency radio communications capture someone saying he "could see the muzzle flash coming at me" as a New York state gunman ambushed firefighters responding to a blaze he had set to trap them.

The audio draws a chilling picture of the attack police say William Spengler carried out Monday morning in the Lake Ontario community of Webster.

The audio posted on the website RadioReference.com has someone reporting "firefighters are down" and saying "got to be rifle or shotgun."



WEBSTER, N.Y. (AP) -- The police chief in Webster, N.Y., says that four firefighters were shot while responding to a blaze in the town near Rochester and that two are dead.

Chief Gerald Pickering says "one or more shooters" fired at the firefighters Monday morning. Officials say they had arrived at the scene of the blaze near the Lake Ontario shore around 6 a.m.

Officials say a fire started in one home and spread to two others and a car. Officials say there is no active shooter at the scene.


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