December 25th, 2012
12:21 PM ET

Shooter that lured firefighters left note: Killing is what I do best

The shooter who ambushed and killed two upstate New York firefighters Monday left a note behind indicating his intentions, police said Tuesday.

"I still have to get ready to see how much of the neighborhood I can burn down and do what I like doing best - killing people," the 3-page typewritten note said.

New York town's 'Firefighter of the Year' shot dead responding to blaze

Authorities haven't given a motive for the latest violence, which left two firefighters dead and two other firefighters and an off-duty police officer from a nearby town wounded after they responded to the call of a fire.

And they can't ask the shooter, who was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head around 11 a.m., about six hours after first calls about the fire came in.

Investigators believe the suspect, William Spengler, 62, set the original fire, then likely set himself up on a berm with a clear view of the scene and started shooting.

N.Y. man who shot dead 2 firefighters killed grandmother in 1980

"It appears that it was a trap," Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering said. "There was a car and a house that were involved in flames, probably set by Mr. Spengler, who laid in wait in armament and then shot the first responders."

In chilling audio heard over the scanner, a West Webster Fire Department firefighter reported "multiple firemen shot" - including himself, with wounds to his lower back and lower leg - and "shots still being fired."

For several hours after that Monday, the threat of gunfire stopped firefighters from battling the blaze and forced police SWAT teams to evacuate 33 people in the neighborhood of small, waterfront homes.

Eventually, seven houses were "totally destroyed" by the fire. Although the fires were under control as of 2:30 p.m. ET, by then authorities still hadn't been able to get in any of the homes. Pickering said it's possible more victims could be inside.

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soundoff (467 Responses)
  1. saywhat

    The penchant for violence that afflicts this nation of ours is manifesting itself.

    December 25, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Andrew

      Except violence isn't increasing. It's actually down by over a third since the '90s. It's just that the mainstream media is reporting it more often now, and so it's feeding this hysteria that we are all just waiting to be shot.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob Dylan

      It's amazing.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Obozo

      CNN: What are you trying to promote when posted these hatred letters from the crazy killers?

      December 25, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Akox

      @Andrew. Your dumbness quotient must be pretty high.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      @obozo.....they are reporting NEWS, that is what they are paid to do....it is called a job and work....you should try getting a job and working.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Buster

      People behaving badly are a bad choice for entertainment viewing. We are all responsible for the role models we choose. Our dollars spent are like votes for what we want, so lead by example. Make it a better day. CIAO.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • sqeptiq

      There are fewer examples of public violence...the ones that do occur are just much more extreme. In the past our violence was directed at a source which could be hurt. Now, many people have an amorphous source of grievance to attack and so the violence becomes generalized to anyone in the vicinity.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mizh

    COWARD!

    December 25, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Nancy M. B.

    Two sandwiches short of a picnic.

    December 25, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Paul

      Nice analogy.....but far more than just 2 sandwiches!

      December 25, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mike

    Does anyone know what time the NRA will hold its press conference to defend this lunatic's right to own guns?

    December 25, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Soporifix

      Right after the get done defending the last two shootings. The NRA is a terrorist group.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • nate

      Shut up.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Manny

      Your both uneducated morons.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • notayankee

      Right after the Liberal judge that gave him 17 years for killing his grandmother with a hammer makes a statement, and right after the Liberals in the NY Legislature explaind why they have no death penalty.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • brian

      Does anyone know what time the LIBRALS will hold its press conference to defend this lunatic's right to freedom after he spent 17 yrs in prison for killing his own 90 yr grandmother?

      December 25, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sagebrush Shorty

      I am not a member of the NRA, but to my knowledge they have never advocated allowing convicted criminals to legally obtain weapons. They have consistently called for the enforcement of laws already on the books. So don't whine about the NRA. Instead you should be complaining about our so-called justice system that allows these people back on the street.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • poopiefacetomatonose

      the NRA doesn't need to say anything because he did not have the right to own guns.....misinformed......

      December 25, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joe from Maryland

    So what gun was used? I'm guessing it was something other then an AR since the make and model hasn't been thrown around on tv all day. Are we going to get calls to ban the gun? When somebody goes off with a modern muzzle loader will there be calls to ban them? Where is the responsible reporting talking about BOTH sides of the gun argument. This attack doesn't fit the model of what will help you push anti-2a bills so the reporting is half-assed at best. These firefighters deserve at least as much respect as the children of Newport, yet you've given maybe 1/4 of the information about it as you did the CT shooting.

    December 25, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Soporifix

      Yes, the most important issue here is the media. Not access to firearms – the media. Lets hear more.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jesse

      From what I read at other news sources, he was a convicted felon that murdered his grandmother with a hammer several years back. So he was already breaking the law by owning any type of firearm. No law could have been passed that would have made what he did more illegal. He broke several laws here including the illegal possession of a firearm. But you won't see CNN report on that.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • stewie

      AR-15, MAGAZINE HOLDING 30 BULLETS.......ANYMORE QUESTIONS

      December 25, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • jrh0

      So man owns firearm illegally, uses illegal capacity magazine, kills people. You believe answer is pass more laws.

      Man snipes 2 people. 2. and you believe assault rifle with high capacity magazine is the problem.

      Crazy man does crazy thing, after writing letter illustrating how crazy he is. You think GUNS are the problem. Ok. Right.

      December 27, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  6. Trent

    Here's a motive: He's crazy.

    December 25, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • seequin

      No, he was evil, not crazy. Felon, lengthy rap sheet, previous conviction for murder.
      Question is, where did this felon get his gun? A gun show? Only place that doesn't check felons.
      First think that should be fixed.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rodney

    This lifestyle is pure barbaric.....why do we considered ourselves civilized? Just misleading.....

    December 25, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Ordinary Average American

    Another example of mental illness that was not addressed . . . even by the justice system that incarcerated this nut for so long! Until America addresses and funds mental health, the deranged will keep showing themselves in ways we don't want to see!

    December 25, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Adam

    Wow, thanks CNN for alerting me of this on Christmas. Just what I needed to hear today.
    Happy Holidays.

    December 25, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mallory Simon, CNN News blog editor

      We know it is a sad story, but we are also committed to updating our readers on our stories. Please visit our homepage as we have several uplifting holiday tales too! Thanks for reading.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      @Mallory Simon.....

      Thanks for being the voice of reason....too many people blame the media....it is NOT the media at fault...the fault is the NRA and the people who do not keep their weapons safe and under lock and key

      December 25, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tutuvabene

    Provocative SOB wasn't he? Must be a poster boy for the NRA.

    December 25, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • notayankee

      He is a poster boy for Liberal anti Death Penalty proponents. He killed his grandmother with a hammer and was out after 17 years. Thank you Liberal judge. Thank you no Death Penaltly in NY. Thank you Liberals for protecting this person.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tom

    The NRA is the enemy of America!

    December 25, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. So Sick of Idiots

    I think the note is a fraud-

    December 25, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Soporifix

      Right, that's it. It's a conspiracy. Please tell us more.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      What possible reason would you have for thinking that?

      December 25, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Just Me

    This time of year always seems to bring out the best and the worst of humanity. It seems to me that this is one of the worst of over 60 years I can remember. Maybe it would have been best if the conspiracy theorists had been right about 12/21/12 afterall.

    December 25, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Paul

    This was another mentally disturbed (too mild?) individual who never should have been allowed back on the streets. Turning him loose was tantamount to giving locksmithing equipment to a burglar or flame-throwers to arsonists.

    God bless the souls of those wonderful firefighters and may He bring comfort to the families.

    December 25, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Jon

    CNN and the rest of the idiotic new media are constantly sensationalizing news resulting in more copy cats. Very shameful acts of reporting.

    December 25, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Soporifix

      Moron, it's not the media. It's the guns.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      And, if they did not report all that is known, you would be yelling they are ignoring the news.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
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