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.

soundoff (467 Responses)
  1. AndromedaCrossing

    I'd bet he was an NRA member!

    December 25, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • walter2013

      I bet a lib let him out of prison after killing his grandmother

      December 25, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Spike99809

      Thousands are joining the NRA every day–someone has to stand up for our rights to protect ourselves and our families. I'm joining tomorrow!

      December 25, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Schlagel

      Left wing media reader here. Do some reason before you make a stupid comment. He wasn't a NRA member. He was a early release inmate from Michigan Department of Correction. He was in for killing his mom with a hammer. So maybe we should ban hammers?!?!? God people are stupid.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary Simpson

      The NRA does not have trash like this as members. Your logic is sick and twisted.

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

      Jeff... we in the NHA (National Hammer Association) resemble that remark!

      December 25, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Gary Simpson

    Another needless tragedy. The anti-gunners waste no time in exploiting it to their advantage somehow accusing responsible gun owners as the culprit. The killer was human garbage who should have never been permitted out or prison or executed many years ago after killing him Grandmother.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. sc8920

    I think we just need some type of Idiot tester. If its positive, you can't own a gun, can't have kids, and you can't drive.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • martin

      yeah, but that really would be a slippery slope. people who kill in ny state and get a decent defender can get out within 15 or 16 years if the killing is not done in the process of a crime, such as a robbery or a burglary. maybe that process has to be reviewed.

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

      Murder is "in the process of a crime", indeed, the ultimate crime.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mark Diskin

    Being a spineless coward is what people like this really do best, most cowards like this can not face the consequences of their own actions, or face the challenge that life brings, so they only want to inflict pain and suffering on those around them
    never having any type of recognition in their own lives because they are not capable they live only to cause pain for others
    and blame others for their own self inflicted failures. It is sad, but the truth is more individuals like this will be surfacing in our country, as time goes by the sicker the individual the more time they spend plotting some form of evil to get the attention they know they can only get by creating a disaster for others, because they do not have it in themselves to do good for others.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Eric

    Another day, another day of gun violence that destroys innocents victims lives. Gun enthusiasts and the NRA will again emplore people to arm themselves from criminals to get a "feeling" of security and to spread more fear that uninformed individuals take as fact. Fact is and will always be – more guns in society – more chance and proability of harm. Own a gun and you have more of a probability of being harmed than you do it you do not own one.

    When will the US wake up and realize that the 2nd amendment was not written for 2012?

    The majority of US citizens want responsible gun laws including getting rid of automatic weapons, multi-ammo clips, loopholesat gun shows – all these should be JUST THE BEGINNING. Write and email your congress person ...... the NRA and vocal gun enthusiasts have been the squeeky wheel .... it is time that informed Americans on responsible laws on gun ownership be heard.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • sawolf

      Responsibility? How about keeping murderers behind bars or better yet, execute them?

      December 25, 2012 at 1:47 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 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • David Gabriel

      Another day, another day of{Select Below] that destroys innocents victims lives.

      1. Drunk Driving
      2. Medical Malpractice
      3. Falls
      4. People acting foolishly doing [X]
      5. Traffic accidents

      Guns kill people, so do a good deal of other things. How many DUI accidents have taken lives since Sandy Hook? How many sloppy medical practices, how many OTHER things that can kill a person have occurred? Intentional or unintentional?

      Move Along.

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

      like ive said before, this guy killed his grandmother. why was he even released? plus he was a convicted felon, it was already illigal for him to have guns yet he still had them regaurdless of what the law said so please go on about how more laws will fix the problem. you are more likley to be hurt with a gun then without one? fine, when your front door is kicked in in the middle of the night you go ahead and hope to god the police (with a gun) show up in time instead of you being able to defend yourself and your family. AND THE SECOND AMENDMENT IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT FOR TODAY. IT WAS NOT CREATED SO WE CAN HUNT, BACK THEN IF YOU DIDNT HUNT, YOU DIDNT EAT. IT WAS CREATED TO PROTECT OURSELVES FROM A TYRANNICAL GOVERNMENT. YOU TAKE AWAY THE SECOND AMENDMENT AND THE REST OF THE AMENDMENTS WITH FOLLOW.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      You are right, I am sure this deranged SOB and felon had a legally purchased weapon and was obeying all laws of the land!

      December 25, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Will

      To everyone that thinks the second amendment doesnt apply today: it applies more than ever. It was not created so that we could hunt. back then, if you didnt hunt, you didnt eat. It was created so that we the people could protect ourselves from an oppressive government. The second amendment is what protects the rest of the amendments. If you take away the second, the first, third, fourth, fifth, etc will follow. look at history, every tyrannical dictator started with disarming their people so they couldn't fight back. and if you dont think it could happen in the good old usa, you arent paying attention. and to add one more point, why is it that in areas where gun control is the strictest, you have a higher crime rate than areas that allow gun carry?

      December 25, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. lee

    restricting the manufacture and availability of high capacity weapons is the only logical step

    December 25, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Will

      Are you kidding me? the guy killed his grandmother, it was already illigal for him to have guns yet he got ahold of them anyway and you think more laws will stop this from happening? hell, you dont even know what kind of gun he used and what kind of magazines he had and are calling for bans on them.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Lane Gruenwald

    Burning in Hell is good, justice and quarantining the violent and severely mentally ill during life is better.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Will

    All of you gun control supporters are forgetting something. This guy killed his grandmother, a convicted felon, it was already illegal for him to have guns so there is no way he got them legally but yet magically he still had them. yet you think more laws will stop this from happening when the mental's dont care how many laws you have against what they are going to do.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • walter2013


      December 25, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. tess

    we are drowning in crazy people, we have to get them out of society, we cannot live our lives accommodating their special needs

    December 25, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. noteasilyswayed

    We are never going to be able to predict which psychopaths are going to commit heinous acts and when they are going to do it..... however, once these guys are imprisoned for violent acts, they should not be let out early and the sentences need to be much longer than they now are. Our justice system has become a joke, with all the early releases, appeals and light sentences.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. FaciaBrut

    Don't worry. Mr. LaPierre has a plan. Armed police will now accompany every firefighter.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. angel

    I don't belong to nor make contributions to the NRA, however, you can't bring a knife to a gunfight. it may be cliche, but when guns are outlawed only outlaws, policemen & soldiers will have guns. policemen & military service members are not above mental health issues, violennce or corruption. so if only they were to have access to firearms to protect us, who would protect us from them?

    December 25, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Oko

    Gun control has produced good results in other countries. If Americans are skeptical about achieving same result, something is then amiss with this once great nation.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Brian

    UPDATE: NRA: "let's arm the firefighters also"

    December 25, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tom

    Why do these fvck ups always kill innocent people before killing themselves?

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