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. RF

    The US is such a nice country with wonderful people who stand up for freedom. Yet, these incidents make this country look more and more broken. What can we do to fix it???

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

      1: Invest in mental health
      2: De-invest in firearms; particularly semi-auto and assault weapons– made strictly for killing humans.
      3: Standardize gun regulations and make training MANDATORY

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

      I think the big problem is the lack of mental health care. We cant keep ignoring people that turn 18 and not provide the proper care needed. This person had a background requiring psychiatric care

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

      No more guns

      December 25, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • jetfuel4

      I don't know.....maybe go back to the founding principles and core values....but that would probably require getting rid of about 51% of the population.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      Ban FIRE TRUCKS! That philosophy seems to work for Obama and the Dems.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. GOP Sucks

    What exactly is the 'mainstream' media? It's as if there were other althernative sources of news, like crystal balls, word of mouth or god for bid, FOX, the fascist or xenophobic network.

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

      LOSER

      December 25, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rodboy

      You sure did a lot to improve things – are we to suppose you are writing your note now. You need to be a little nicer to those G O P people because they have all the money you need so you don't have to work.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. AtheisticallyYours

    ANOTHER WONDERFUL EXAMPLE OF A WHACK JOB WITH ACCESS TO A FIREARM!

    December 25, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. john

    Of course the obvious answer to this is to arm the firefighters.

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

      Nope, the answer (in this instance) was the Death Penalty...

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

      so old...its not even funny any more ....stfu

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

      YES, PRECISELY THE ANSWER.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • walter2013

      The blood is on the Board of prison terms who let him out after killing his grandmother....John

      December 25, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      All goes back to the MENTAL HEALTH issue in this nation. But the liberals want to blame inanimate objects instead. GUNS.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Death Penalty

    Had he been given the Death Penalty for killing someone he wouldn't have killed again.

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

      He committed suicide, death penalty is kinda moot at this point.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • hang3xc

      Hey Dan, WAKE UP !!! He killed his grandma back in 1980. Poster was NOT referring to THIS killing. Effin' moron

      December 25, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • oppossum king

      No Dan, he was a convicted felon for murder released early. The death penalty doesn't stop those that intend to kill (deterrent) but it sure stops those that do from killing again.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Old soldier

      Possibly. Of course, nothing exists to prove he might have killed another inmate or guard while incarcerated. All we know for sure is that we would pay a hefty amount to feed, clothe, entertain, possibly educate, and protect him fo many years in the prison system or mental hospital. Prisoners are expensive to maintain. We pay out more for each one than many families exist on per year. It is true many are in prison and on death row unfairly because of poor police work and shoddy juries, but no one knows how many nor where. All we can do is put faith in police and courts. But the majority are guilty, and a sunk cost we can't avoid. We supposedly are 2% of the world's population, but have 25% of the prisoners at major cost.

      A report by the organization, "The Price of Prisons," states that the cost of incarcerating one inmate in Fiscal 2010 was $31,307 per year. "In states like Connecticut, Washington state, New York, it's anywhere from $50,000 to $60,000," he said.

      Yes – $60,000 a year. That's a teacher's salary, or a firefighter's. Our epidemic of incarceration costs us taxpayers $63.4 billion a year.

      Odd that he might have cost per year what one of the fire fighters he murdered cost. Yin and yang. Tchuss!

      December 25, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jimjam

    Excellent obserrvations and comment Joe. Wish more in this country were willing to look below the surface like you have.

    December 25, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. noone77

    hope the loser hangs for this!!! sicko

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

      Please–a little English comprehension. He shot himself in the head.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • holidaypoop

      It said he killed himself..did you even read the article?

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

      Didnt you even read the article?!?!

      December 25, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bill

    Presently, 17 states regulate private firearm sales at gun shows. Seven states require background checks on all gun sales at gun shows (California, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Oregon, New York, Illinois and Colorado). Four states (Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania) require background checks on all handgun, but not long gun, purchasers at gun shows. Six states require individuals to obtain a permit to purchase handguns that involves a background check (Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Iowa, Nebraska). Certain counties in Florida require background checks on all private sales of handguns at gun shows. The remaining 33 states do not restrict private, intrastate sales of firearms at gun shows in any manner.

    -

    Just googled this. The real truth.

    No one should be able to buy a gun without a background no matter where the sale occurs.

    We need to fix this.

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

      Yes 1d1ot. I'm sure this guy got his gun legally with a background check. Your laws would have done a lot of good. This guy clearly is interested in following the law!

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

      One slight problem background checks they do not discover stupidity and carelessness as was the problem with Mrs. Lanza. Like I will go to the medicine cabinet eat some dumb pills and buy more g uns for my disturbed son to view and/or use.

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

      Let's say that he did get it legally from one of those state, would that change your mind about anything?
      Why are we making it so easy to get a gun, because we can or we need to protect ourselves from all the wackos?

      There are too many reasons behind reasons. We should just do one thing and hope it works, rather than do NOTHING because we don't think it will work.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. shellback1

    WTG NRA!

    December 25, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bozobub

    The "mainstream media" is a convenient straw man and scapegoat, nothing more.

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

      Oops'; this was a reply to a post, forgot to hit the button ^^' ...

      December 25, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Richard

    A thousand bucks says this guy supported or was a member of the NRA

    December 25, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • hang3xc

      Yeah? He probably went to church too. So?

      December 25, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • frederick D

      A thousand buck says he is on public welfare.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. drconradfitz

    Start sterilizing human beings and give this planet back to the animals!!!!!!

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

      Wow, actually one of the more sensible solutions I've heard. I'd rank it over putting prayer back into public schools.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • LKG

      I kept hoping for the Mayan Prophecy but to no avail.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. LKG

    I would really like to know how he got his weapons because I'm damn sure he didn't have them legally.

    December 25, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bill J.

    "HOW RELEASE OF MENTAL PATIENTS BEGAN"

    http://www.nytimes.com/1984/10/30/science/how-release-of-mental-patients-began.html?pagewanted=all

    December 25, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Alex

    Honestly, not what I like seeing as a push notification when I wake up on Christmas Day. We didn't need to know that, I think it's more sensationalizing for views. It makes me sad that people have to resort to such drastic measures to be noticed (heres looking at you, shooter. And you too, CNN)

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