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. Philip J. Rine

    The answer to all of our problems is Jesus. You can add or take away guns, but until the heart of man is changed by accepting the he is a sinner and needs the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus Christ, he/she is going to continue to commit every imaginable heinous crime. Man's nature is bent on evil, and only Jesus can change that. No amount of laws, no amount of knowledge, no amount of money, no amount of power can change the simple fact that Jesus came to set the captives free. Our founding fathers knew and acted on that, why don't we. If we would return to Christ, then G-d would start to restore this nation. If we continue to reject G-d, then this nation will continue its slide to self-destruction. One thing is for certain, one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God. So readers, you can bow now or bow later. But know that each one of us will bow. Wouldn't you rather bow to Jesus than satan, who you will serve for all eternity if you reject Jesus Christ.

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

      I kind of view Jesus as an annoying middleman...why waste time at the car dealership when you can go to the factory and buy direct?

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

      Your phony Christian God di nothong to stop 9/11, did nothing to stop those 20 babies from being killed. He does not care.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike in SA

      We are not mindless robots acting out some prescribed inevitability. God grants everybody free will...not SOME people, EVERYBODY. After all would it be fair for God to grant your neighbor free will but not you? The 9/11 terrorists and others act on their own free will. Others also display their own free will when they react with compassion to the victims. While those choosing murder are sinking to the lowest form of the human condition, those reacting with compassion have the opportunity to reach the pinnacle of what we as humans have the potential to be.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • guitarharry

      Religion can indeed be the answer for some. But in many cases, such as the Westboro Church, or the Spanish Inquisition, religion is a weapon used to attack innocent victims. It is naive to think all these problems we have today would just disappear if everyone suddenly turned to Christianity.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Young Libertarian

      Well said. As I can easily see from the readers of CNN most are ridiculous biggots that are too busy spouting off about christ, gun laws, and mentally ill instead of focusing on those that lost their lives. The people that read these stories are just as sensationalist as CNN.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • StandingupforJesus

      Jesus didn't come to earth to solve its problems. He came here to save souls by forgiving those who repent and get baptized and follow him. The problem is sin and the answer to that is Jesus. Our sin separates us from God and He came down as a sacrafice for our sins for those who truly beleive, He didn't come to make the earth a perfect place, that will be heaven. And He clearly said that only, "a few" (ancient Greek to English) would follow him. He also said that even true beleivers will have problems in this world, but told them to, "take heart for I have overcome the world".

      December 25, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • guest

      I agree with you Philip. However, I would like to know why you have no problems saying Jesus name, but put a slash mark in God's name!? They are one in the same!

      December 25, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • tony

      Almost the Billions of dead already in Heaven died before Jesus was crucified.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • sc8920

      Just another case of someone being an idiot. Sometimes people in this country truly amaze me. Another idiot with a gun. Come on America, is this what we're about. If you have a grievance with someone, settle it like a real man, and I'm not talking about violence. Guns are not the answer. It all starts with parenting. Knowing the difference between right and wrong. And yes, I know that this doesn't solve everything, but it would for sure help.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • karon powell

      I agree Jesus is the answer

      December 25, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • M

      Jesus is a MAN. He is not God. How can Jesus be responsible for the actions of those who came before him or after his death?? We must turn to GOD not a creation of God. May God guide us all.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Many who follow another religion (Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism...) besides Christianity, are perfectly nice people who don't kill anyone. Following Jesus does not end murder.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • woodie

      No white people cannot be terrorists. Terrorism is genetic.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      Amen, Merry Cristmas

      December 25, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChiTown Gal in Houston

      Okay, so Jesus came to set the captives free – – – I get that, really I do. However, when you hold up the founding fathers as being people who embraced and espoused that whole "set the captives free" mentality, how do you reconcile that with the fact that they founded a society with slavery at its core? How is that advancing a set the captives free state of mind. That part of your argument does not pass muster.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jeffro

    Ambushing a fireman. Now I have heard everything. Unbelievable.

    December 25, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Individual Sovereignty

      This is nothing new.. We had a firefighter in lexington, Kentucky in 2004 get shot and killed while responding to an unconsious female laying in a driveway.....

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

    Funny, killing people is what the NRA does best, too.

    December 25, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • ajac09

      99% of people dont kill at all. Being judgemental is what you do best it looks like

      December 25, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. PJ

    Statistics can be misleading, and many games are played with it in order to make some what invalid points. Our population has increased and as a percentage of population violent crime may have gone down. But to say that there is an improvement is absurd. Just one incident of this kind is to much and we have had many to this point. There is no hysteria involved, the level of this violence tells its own story. The level and frequency of these crimes goes beyond what has been seen in the past 40 years and shows no sign of slowing down. It is time we exam what we have been doing to our society all these years.

    December 25, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. r2g

    Again, why was he released from prison? If you really felt like releasing him, you should've placed him in a psycho ward. Just saying.

    December 25, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ajac09

    what black people? Last several have been.. well WHITE

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

      A Sandy Hook massacre takes place every day in the black neighborhoods of Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, LA, San Fran, NYC, Dallas, Houston, Miami - everywhere.

      Only nobody gives a rap because it's happening to little black kids. Besides, if you try to fix the problem you're a racist.

      Go figure.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • EVN

      Just because you have access to a computer and can type doesn't mean you should be posting. Do you actually tell people the nonsense you put out in face to face encounters?

      December 25, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • .

      Truth hits home a little too hard?

      Always does.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • SG1

      True!!!

      December 25, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • .

      Screw off, troll.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Young Libertarian

      Sensationalism at its best. Of course we don't see anything from the outside world. The hundreds of starving children. No when a story is bizarre and has to do with guns it gets blown up out of proportion by the news.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • krenzy

      Racism would die? No it would'nt die, the racists would just get away with their racism if people 'shut their faces".

      December 25, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roderick

      That is the most asinine comment I've read in a very long time! Never have there been mass shooting within a so called black school. The shooting within black areas are due to gang violence. We can argue the cause of that another time. But for once in your life own up to YOUR responsibilities as a white society and admit that YOU TOO have issues, and some serious work to do within your own communities. Stop generalizing with only blacks!

      Keep your racism to yourself.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Theduse

      Blacks commit more murders disproportionately to their population compared to whites and Asians. This is a fact. Deal with it.

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

      What does that have to do with this guy killing people?

      December 25, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • 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 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • crippling ignorance

      LOL, do you converse like this with real people ? LIke at coffee shops and stuff? Or do they tell you to leave immediately...

      December 25, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jasmine

      Don't make this a race issue

      December 25, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • ..

      Black kids get shot everyday,,,by black kids that are in gangs.
      Black kids do not get mowed down with assault weapons in first grade en masse.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. E

    How does an ex-felon who has murdered previously get his hands on a rifle? Oh yeah, that's right. But people kill people, not guns, so I suppose we should arm firefighters now.

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

      There it is! :)

      December 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • guest

      I just heard someone say "guns kill people". People with guns, kill people as the gun can't kill all by itself, it needs a finger to pull the trigger so, people WITH GUNS kill people!

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

      How does a psycopath get out of prison to commit murder? Oh yeah, that's right...

      December 25, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChiTown Gal in Houston

      Unfortunately, if you have money you can buy a weapon on the black market.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Helookslikeateapartypatriot

    Looks like the poster child of the Tea Party

    December 25, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike in SA

      Sorry to bring you back to reality, he looks much more like a 99-percenter.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. tony

    THE GREAT LIE of "A gun is a defensive weapon" will continue to be trotted out repeatedly, by those who PROFIT FROM IT most.

    If it was true, no soldier would even be killed in battle.

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

      If you have never had any training on weapons use then you would be best to silence your own ignorant tongue on the issue because it really does make you out to be unintelligent.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • tony

      I'm an ex-military marksman. What are you?

      December 25, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Double Pulsars

    "...Spengler had a history of killing. He spent 16 years in prison for the death of his grandmother in 1980. According to reports, she was found at the bottom of the basement stairs in her home on Lake Road. She had been beaten with a hammer."
    If this nutjob had been put away for life, 2 firefighters would still be alive – lousy liberal court.

    December 25, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • trilly3807

      You are absolutely right. That stat is unbelievable! He should have been sentenced to life without parole.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. bptsj

    Previous articles just mentioned the use of a rifle. No mention that a semi-automatic or assault weapon was used. He is a convicted killer so this is a case of illegal gun ownership. Somehow we need to stem the flow of guns in to the hands of those who shouldn't have them. I am not a gun advocate but don't believe gun bans would be effective. I think there should be more emphasis on registration, safe keeping, background checks to buy ammo, heavy penalties to loan guns, heavy penalties to sell or give away a gun without registration.

    December 25, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. kramer696

    NRA: All firefighters to be armed from now on...

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

      Funny, I actually have 2 friends – NOFD (louisiana) that carry glocks daily..

      December 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tony W

    Well, it's obvious that ALL firetrucks need an armed guard, maybe two. That's the only solution. And this event is obviously the media's fault.

    December 25, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. trilly3807

    I know this has been said before, but why can't these psych0s just kill themselves instead of taking innocent lives (& in this case property) with them??!!

    Maybe in the future when scientists learn more about the brain this horrific behavior can be curtailed. People MUST have access to mental health treatment!!

    December 25, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Wes

    It may just be me, but this has been the most violent winter-holiday season I can recall. I hope that all those who are visited by hate and desirous ghosts will find help instead of turning to a gun. We need a break and some peace. There are too many deaths that bear heavy on my heart.

    December 25, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • abmri60

      Changes in the weather triggers the mentally ill.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
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