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. AKhan

    Another wacko piece of white trash with a damn gun....

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

      too bad liberals released him from prison after his previous murder conviction.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Helookslikeateapartypatriot

    He looks like Wayne LaPierre

    December 25, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. SheWiz

    Mentally ill, or not, killers need to be held accountable. That is no excuse!

    December 25, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bob

    We clearly need armed guards with all fire response teams, or the fireman carry guns and sweep the area before they touch a hose.

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

      I retired after 28 years with a large, municipal fire dept and not only to I say no to your insanity, I say H*LL no. Just can't believe the ridiculous comments on these pages.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. GetReal

    A few hundred year to make it to first world status as a country. A few months to go back to third world status.......Welcome to the New America!

    December 25, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. .

    If guns are banned, only criminals and liberal democrats will have guns.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • retphxfire

      I haven't heard too many calling for a firearm ban, just common sense closing loopholes, no guns for people with certain mental illnesses, a history of violence, abusers, etc. Stop the hysteria and stop listening to the NRA, start thinking about the conservatives who have children and other loved ones who have lost their lives because there are no restrictions. sheesh..the lies, misleading and just plain self-inflicted ignorance of some gun zealots.

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

      No, police and military, liberal or not.

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

      Isn't this what we have come to expect? We have these conservatives with no friends who come trolling here writing ignorant comments with the goal of being rewarded by angering a educated liberal by looking ignorant. This is the kind of persons with find home among conservatives.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Come on..I'm a liberal democrate. I carry a knife.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • CommonSense

      That's still safer than EVERYONE and their mother having one. I'm not worried about a career criminal shooting me, I'm worried about some gun not who is off their rocker.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darryl Bond

      Hey retphxfire, these regulations you speak of – ummm... they exist today. The NICS screens for history of mental illness, PFA's, and other conditions that would disqualify someone for LEGAL ownership. There is no 'gun show loophole'. Legal transfers at gun shows require the same background checks and paperwork that a retailer requires. Do your homework and check it out. Remember, crims don't follow the laws made for the rest of us...

      December 25, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Young Libertarian

    We hear about this because the media pushes forward this sort of shocking stories, on christmas day even. It isn't because we have access to guns, it isn't because we are a country of lunatics. It is because we don't love. We don't teach our children to love without prejudice, we don't find compassion for those less fortunate than us. We sit on twitter, facebook, on our new xmas tablets and iphones and cry foul to what is going on around us. Instead of talking about this, we should go out and make good changes and impact the lives of those around us for the better.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Booseyboo

      Yes!!! Until America wakes up that it is materialism that is slowly killing this country we can expect more. It seems to be all about me, what I have, what I want and what I can get so I can look good to myself and others.

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

      Your post makes some valid points. I don't understand, however, how you could expect the "media" to ignore a story about someone killing fireman, especially 10 days after Newtown. If situations like this were ignored, there are those that would claim some type of coverup.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • retphxfire

      We hear about it because it is news that impacts all of us. 32 killed at a college, 26 in a grade school, a Congress woman shot and a child, a judge dead...It HAS to be talked about, we can't just ignore a problem and pretend everyone is just going to start being considerate and compassionate, life doesn't work that way. When someone is ill, angry, vindictive, abuse, narcissistic or a sociopath, they aren't going to just start feeling love...sheesh

      December 25, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Young Libertarian

      @John The issue here is because what is exactly CNN reporting? About the murderers, sensationalist news that churns our insides and leaves us hopeless. They make it about the people that do the killings, and not about the people who lost their lives. I used to be a doubter, a person who questioned motives and looked at why a person would do such things like kill innocents. Now I try to focus on the families, the people who lost. Those family who could care less about CNN reporting on murderous manifestos and would rather just have their husbands and fathers back for xmas.

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

    It's hard to believe we actually allow 'assault' weapons to be sold to the public. Everybody who knows these guns knows that they are sold as 'disabled full automatics'. The only people buying these guns are a little off to begin with and these cats don't want anything to do with a Colt 'Peacemaker'.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seth

      Great argument! I first acquired my assault rifle when I was serving in the military as a way to increase my marksmanship skills and get promoted faster. Must have been a complete gun nut or lunatic. Wouldn't trade the security it gives me and my family for the world. My alarm system has gone off and the local pigs have taken up to 30 minutes to get here. Do you think I want to rely on these overweight idiots for anything?

      December 25, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. tony

    Notice how in all the old western movies, two well prepared gunfighters had a shoot out, and both then walked away unharmed, with their difference happily settled. That's because guns are such excellent defensive weapons.

    Or that's the NRA thinking. . . . . . . .

    December 25, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tony

    These nuts are making us whites look bad.....May these fire figthers rest in peace!!


    December 25, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mojobutta

    Jesus is not the answer in this life. Getting the lawmen and military experts to track, hunt down and QUIETLY put down these psychos is exactly what needs too be done. It's time to get busy!

    December 25, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Abe

    Merry freakin Christmas America, you earned this.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. checi

    These are the excuses for those having assault weapons: 1. To protect themselves from the government. 2. To protect themselves from "criminals". These excuses are just evidence of a greater paranoia and paranoia is an illness. We, the SANE American people, need the government to protect us from these ultra-paranoids. They are likely to organize because they already feel like a persecuted army of self-righteous and they will be heavily armed with assault weapons should they decide to take over a street or town. Imagine a domestic private army full of Timothy McVeigh types.

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

      Yes, I agree. I would only add "self-centered" to the paranoid label. Glad these "defenders of America" aren't defending me. Scary.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike Johnson

      What kind of comment does not knowing the government won the Civil war make about a person's intelligence?

      December 25, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Kelcy

    Makes one wonder how many other people he has killed since he got out of prison and where the bodies are located.

    December 25, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jan

    Oh that's right! These nuts can't be put away because...? and did they ever find the sister? Thanks sooo Mich parole board and Mainstreamers!

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