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. doodledoodle

    Who was on his parole board? Nice job to them.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Frank

    Blacks gun down 30 every day in ONE CITY! Chicago. We lose count of all the people they kill daily.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Penny Wright

    1,000,000 Americans have been killed by guns since 1960.

    Thanks NRA.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • sawolf

      You leave out the vastly larger number saved by DEFENSIVE use of firearms.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      sawolf: support your claim, please

      December 25, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Teapatriot

      Rick – he cannot because defensive use of guns does not leave a trail.

      December 26, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Teapatriot

      Try going to the po-lice station and filing a report that an int-ruder threatened you at home and your legal gun scared him off.

      December 26, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Teapatriot

      Let us not even start with subtle effects of conc-ealed carry laws that intimidate would-be criminals from even trying anything.

      December 26, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Yuck

    This is a perfect example why guns should be illegal to stupid asses

    December 25, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John

    Does anyone know how he got the gun(s)? Did he steal them, get them voluntarily from someone, own them (yes a felon cannot own a gun, supposedly), manufacture them? What types of guns were they?

    December 25, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. sc8920

    It is time that we woke up America. More guns = more violence. The NRA and gun advocates say that more guns is the answer so that we can arm ourselves. How often would anyone even be in these situations to stop idiots from killing innocent victims? Probably never. And the saying that if killers didn't have a gun, they would still kill. You're probably right, but at least they would have to come up with another way, which means that they would have to think, and I would rather take my chances with an idiot trying to think.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • the middleclass

      Or we can cause change in a civilized and caring way, if we choose.,,
      ..
      remember, he very well might have been severely mentally ill due to the trauma placed on him as a child. We chose to do nothing to understand the cause and allow small children to suffer. We later dam-n them for their destroyed lives and later mental illness. Maybe it's us who should be dam-ned.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin Georgitso Name*

      Lers see, a convicted killer, a felon prohibited from owning firearms, from his three page letter saying how good he is at killing people. I'd say he didn't become a danger to us all overnight. Our liberal society chose to ignore this dangerous individual and subject us all to the danger. Just another example of failed gun control and a reason for citizens to be able to defend themselves.

      December 25, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Will

      "How often would anyone even be in these situations to stop idiots from killing innocent victims? Probably never. "
      Um....if there was a concield carry holder in that school or in the movie theater in Colorado. Did you even think your statement out before you posted it? If you allowed people to defend themselves from the crazies who dont care what the law says you could stop alot more of these things from happening. you arent very bright huh?

      December 25, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • dissidentfairy

      The MiddleClass: It is sad that All children do not have the same advantages in life. However, some of the greatest people have come from nothing, from poverty and abuse, and they have risen like a Sphinx from ash, whereas, others, some with advantages have gone the other way. You really can't solely blame good and evil on ones environment. Yes it helps to be raised with sentience but the lack thereof is no excuse for violence.

      The recent shooter came from privilege! I'm sure mental illness was a factor but his mother had no business catering to his spoiled whims. I have no doubt the assault weapon was his idea but instead of saying No she gave the spoiled kid what he asked for. Giving a child too much is also a form of abuse. Coming from a so called good home also means there has to be a healthy balance between discipline and love. A parent has to know when to say No!

      December 25, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • cricket

      There are many ways to kill without using a gun. That truth, having been said, do we outlaw every way a determined person wishes to kill? Fertilizer is a common component of a bomb. Bow and arrows will kill too. How about if this nutcase ran out wielding a machete and was able to kill the fireman with that? The people first on-site were unprepared for anything except putting out a fire and may never have seen a nutcase with a machete until one or more were dead or badly wounded.
      The nutcase would have had a gun even if all guns had been banned.
      Everytime something like this happens, some wish to ban guns so always, always remember: If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns!

      December 25, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. unitq

    So sad,firefighters doing there job and most likely looking forward to a wonderful Christmas with their families,instead of sitting around a dinner table together they will now be standing around a casket mourning for a lost loved one. So all because someone hates themselves they think they have to take revenge on others. To the families,i am so sorry for your loss,god bless you all...To the racist people out there,i am a white male and %65 of my friends have always been blacks,as a matter of fact i own property in a black community and they are all god-fearing peace-loving people, Seems that whites are commiting a lot more crimes than the blacks. All you racist people pose a very dangerous threat to society,GET HELP.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Widow

    We don't need gun control.

    We need nut control!!!

    December 25, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • dissidentfairy

      We need both because you never know when someone with a gun is going to turn into a nut.....

      December 25, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • MembersOnlyGuy

      Another idiot heard from. We need to keep guns out of the hands of nuts = gun control.

      December 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. crippling ignorance

    Lets loosen gun regulation already!! continue to neglect mental health of inmates! It's Conservative and American! As long as everyone is scared out of their minds, we can all continue to buy guns to keep away the boogymans! Keep your eyes focused on the news everybody, forget that Congress has systematically denied protection for the middle class in favor of people who make millions !!! TEA PARTY FOREVER, OBAMA IS A DIRTY SOCIALIST!

    December 25, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. alf

    Wow,,can not believe he did that. Its like they are all copying each other lately. Thoes poor firemen and there families. God keep and protect them. What a horrible December this has been.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Helookslikeateapartypatriot

    Typical Right wing extremist.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Will

      hey, your ignorace is showing. please point to any source that shows his political affiliation. the guy killed his grandmother. he was crazy. why was he even released? then he ignored all the laws already in place to stop him from getting guns and im sure you think more laws will fix this problem.

      December 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. martin

    Life is not easy for anybody. As the Buddha said, "Where there is life there is suffering." Some people use that suffering as a motivator to do great things and some, like this worm, blame everybody else, hoard up resentments and then try to "get back" at them.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Freelancer

    He makes Tea Party Patriots very proud

    December 25, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. libertarian2

    AndromedaCrossing said "I'd bet he was an NRA member!"

    This is exactly why this story has made the big headlines by CNN so people like you can make an antigun statement. The propaganda machine continues. I just remind people that the reason the 2nd amendment exist is so we do not become subjects to tryrantical government. As far as this guy shooting people the problem is with enforcement of the existing gun laws, why did a felon have a gun? Could it be that this is proof that criminals will have guns despite any gun laws?

    December 25, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. the prophet

    Government conspiracy to take Americans civil rights away especially guns, so that day Americans will rebel and revolt against the government will have nothing to fight, governments know of their renaming days in power, read the Rise and fall of the Roman Empire, history always repeats itself weather u like it or not guaranteed. Words of wisdom by the prophets

    December 25, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • crippling ignorance

      lol, real scholar you are. We're talking about Regulating selling guns to Nuts, NOT stopping sale of ALL guns, you Loon. And no, Rome fell because the city and trade-routes were shut down by the invading Nordic people who then plunged Europe into the dark ages for next 1000 years.

      December 25, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
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