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. Brian

    Gun laws , guns evil blah blah blah. Convicted murderers aren't permitted firearms. it is also illegal to murder people. The problem with this country is you idiots are allowed to vote. Which means you vote in idiots. These idiots make laws. These idiotic laws don't help anything which means you idiots aren't helping anything. Therefore I propose to take away your right to vote. Ps big city fire trucks had a compartment for the shotgun .... Sounds like time to do that again.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Marcus

    Thanks to the limp-wristed sissy-libs, this guy was set free to kill again. He should have been put to death for killing his grandmother.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. joe

    Its a sad story, but thank god he is not a muslim otherwise he would be a terrorist. can a white person be a terrorist?

    December 25, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • It's time

      I concur with redefining the face of terrorism!!

      December 25, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darryl Bond

      It's called Domestic Terrorism – remember Tim McVeigh? One does not need to be of a certain race or religion to be a terrorist.

      December 25, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. steve skelley

    people who kill becouse its what they do best. should be taken to some volcano and sacrifised. not joking

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

      AMERICA SURE IS GOING TO HELL... I HATE TO say that about my own county.. but with that nasty A$$ foriegn president and the REST OF THE EVIL GOVERNMENT... we are no longer viewd as THEE GREAT NATION

      December 25, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Betty

      Moi, Foreign born? You are definitely ignorant, and if you can not tolerate our government why don't you find one more to your liking, since you evidently do not believe in the right to choose our president. I feel very sorry for you.

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

    Another shooting in America. Crazy man has access to guns, but nope we can't have gun control that would be wrong. I'm sure the NRA is proud of it's latest victims. Again, these men were not saved by anyone owning a gun legaly. Where was the gun owner who would have stopped this killing? It's time to get rid of the guns in America.

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

      Jackie, if you want an answer to your question look at the statutes in NY for owning and possessing firearms. If you want to place the blame where it belongs, you will have to look in the mirror.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Gun control is about keeping weapons out of the hands of those that will misuse them. True gun control needs to happen between the ears of the shooter. Until the police can guarantee the safety of my family, I'll keep my guns and protect my own. Just a short while back, my girlfriend's alarm was going off in the middle of the night. Her neighborhood has been plagued with break-ins lately. She was on the phone with 911 for 20 minutes asking why the police wheren't there yet. The 911 operator told her "What, do you think we keep a squad car parked in your neighborhood at all times"... They'll be there as soon as they can.. REALLY? A woman living alone, alarm screaming, and the operator tells her that we'll get to you when we can. Anyhow, her alarm company called me at 3am, I was up, dressed, shotgun in hand, and was pulling into her driveway at the same time as the police.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lawabidinggunowner

      He was at home celebrating Christmas. It isn't he job to protect others. Just himself. According to people like you cops are suppose to protect the citizens. So I guess you should be blaming the cops for not being psychic.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • jetfuel4

      Do you even know HOW he got the gun Jackie? He burned 7 homes as well, shouldn’t we ban matches?

      December 25, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • blakephotos

      The guns were stolen. This man was a felon.

      More gun laws would not affect this person.

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

      This shows just how simple minded people like you are. Why not ban matches? The fire may have killed many more. If your statement made any sense at all, I'd respond, but it's as asinine as any anti gun zealot has made.

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

      Typical liberal response...but lets not leave out the fact that the liberal justice system had this man in jail...for murder...than released him after he was "rehabilitated" so he could become a "productive part of society." Grow some ba11s and own your "solution"

      December 25, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • kckaaos

      I guess you liberals have finally stopped blaming Bush and have now started blaming the NRA for everything. I understand, its okay, you have to do those things when FACTS prove all of your ideas are doomed to fail.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lance Brown

      There is already gun control in NY. Didn't seem to work.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. John

    A convicted fellon with firearms. Gun control sure doesn't work.. And if weapons are banned, fellons will be the only ones with guns in hand. The public will be at their mercy...

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

      I guess you never heard of cops.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Also, guns will be banned. What gave you that idea? The NRA? Gun laws will keep guns away from criminals, at least make it harder for them to get guns.

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

      John – cops aren't psychic. They are there to clean up the mess and investigate the crime. People better learn to protect themselves.

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

      Yep, that's how it works in all other civilized countries. Compare and learn. 1 out of 14 gun deaths in the US is in self defense. All others are murders. 120 police officers shot in the line of duty this year. Self defense???

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

      When seconds count, the police are just minutes away

      December 25, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • jetfuel4

      'Gun laws will keep guns away from criminals, at least make it harder for them to get guns.'

      You must listen to a lot of Journey.....just keep believing

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

      @John, Adam Lanza committed 45 felonies before offing himself....I suppose you think he would have stopped at 46...

      Columbine, the perps committed over 200 felonies BEFORE they started shooting...

      And this guy...was actually a convicted felon...for MURDER no less...

      See,how well your gun laws WORK...

      December 25, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      @sandalista ... Don't forget that 65% of all gun killings are Suicide.. Committed by people that are going to kill themselves by whatever means they can. 65% according to the CDC... That's a big number.

      December 25, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sam

    These are the same lawmakers that cannot fix the fiscal cliff, even those they create it, pass that bill last year. The same lawmakers that collecting salaries, benefit and do nothing. Speaker Boehner doesn't have the smarts to create and pass a bill. He now leaves it to the Senate and Obama. Boehner, a Leader? really. This is who is trashing this nation now. Lawmakers, just out to make a fast few millions and care less about this nation. This is why we have the decline in this nation, first we look at who we are electing. The worst ever, the sad issue is that voters seems to be happy with the results of NOTHING.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • kckaaos

      You left out the fact that obama kills the plans before he even sees them...I guess you call THAT leadership.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Guz

    Good thing that we have all our violent pot smokers locked up so we can release people like this back into society.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Toad

      I support legalization of all adult consensual private behavior, including pot growing, selling, smoking, or anything you want to do with it. But I hate bad logic trying to support my position–it gives enemies of my position a chance to score a cheap victory.

      You're saying that pot smokers get locked up, but this guy who we'll just suppose isn't one, was allowed his freedom and was able to kill. You could make the same argument about child molesters. Or tax evaders, for that matter.

      Just because someone does something horrible doesn't mean something less horrible is or isn't a crime. Pot should be completely legal, but not because some nut case goes on a spree–it's got nothing to do with it.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Darryl Bond

    Now is the time for the NATION to reconsider expediting the death penalty. If it can be proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that an individual is guilty of the malicious murder of another, it is time for them to go. I'm not talking an accidental death caused by motor vehicle – this ba$tard killed his grandmother with a hammer for crying out loud. Some people are just pure evil and the hearts and minds are twisted. No amount of incarceration or rehab will help them. Think about this guy for example – he took two innocent lives, destroyed property, and cost 'the system' untold thousands of dollars over the years. Simplify the method to where dirt bags like this get a fair trial, then if found guilty with no doubt whatsover of their doings, flip the switch or pull the trigger. Done, case closed. How many drunk drivers are repeat offenders, and often cause irreversible harm to others? Lock them up, throw away the key, put them in hard labor on the highways. I am sick of the bleeding hearts and have seen too much death caused by people who should be allowed to breath the same air as we do.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Helookslikeateapartypatriot

    CNN SUCKS. stop deleting posts

    December 25, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. lathebiosas

    Death Penalty for all who commit murder and 2 innocent people are alive today.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. HNEIL

    This man is another repeat offender released too early after a murder conviction decades ago.....We never learn.
    Violent criminals most often do the same thing after they get out. This person should have been incarcerated his entire life, or executed for his original murder. How about enforce the laws we already have, stop bandaiding every time a crime is committed.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lawabidinggunowner


      December 25, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ejaz Elahi

    IInstead of trying to control guns, heavily regulate the sale of ammunition. Easier to do at state/local level. Israel allows the possession of only 50 bullets for a handgun.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lawabidinggunowner

    "Doing what I like doing best – killing" sounds like motive to me. This isn't a gun control issue. The question is why this criminal wasn't rotting in prison. If someone beats their grandma to death with a hammer they will kill anyone! The state of New York can't complain. They released him.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dr. Strangelove

    In the United States, the annual rate of firearm homicide per 100,000 population is

    2009: 2.985 7
    2008: 3.12
    2007: 3.36
    2006: 3.42
    2005: 3.43
    2004: 3.20
    2003: 3.37
    2002: 3.2511
    2001: 3.12
    1999: 2.976
    1998: 3.37
    1993: 7.0712

    December 25, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
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