Human remains found in home of US firefighters’ shooter
New York: US police have found "human remains" in the torched home of a New York man, who shot dead two firefighters on Christmas eve before dying of a self-inflicted gun shot wound, and suspect that the victim was his sister with whom he shared a bitter relationship.
62-year-old William Spengler -- who left a chilling note in which he described his intent to burn down more houses and "do what I like doing best, killing people" -- had set his house and car on fire in Webster on Monday, setting a trap for the firefighters. He lay in wait as first responders arrived on the scene to put out the blaze.
Spengler, a convicted felon, was armed with three different weapons, including a Bushmaster rifle, and immediately started firing upon the first responders, police said.
He killed two firefighters and injured as many before killing himself just as police closed in on him.
Webster police chief Gerald Pickering told reporters yesterday that Spengler had set up an ambush for the firefighters by burning his car and home.
Police also found a three-page typewritten note, in which he talks about his plan to unleash mayhem in his neighbourhood.
"I still have to get ready to see how much of the neighbourhood I can burn down and do what I like doing best - killing people," Spengler wrote in the note.
Police did not disclose the full content of the note but said it did not contain the motive behind Spengler's assault on the firefighters.
Pickering said Spengler "was equipped to go to war and kill innocent people."
"I'm not sure we'll never really know what was going through his mind," he said.
Police also disclosed that "human remains" were found in the home of Spengler and suspect that they are those of his sister Cheryl Spengler, 67, who had been living with him but was "unaccounted for" since the day of Spengler's crime.
Pickering did not give more details of Spengler's sister and said the matter was still under investigation.
Monroe County medical examiner's office also declined to comment on the identification of the remains or the cause of death.
Police lieutenant Michael Chiapperini, 43, who was also a
volunteer firefighter and Tomasz Kaczowka, 19, a 911 dispatcher for Monroe County, were killed by Spengler. Two other firefighters -- Joseph Hofstetter and Theodore Scardino -- were injured in the shooting.
Spengler had been arrested in 1980 and charged with murdering his grandmother with a hammer. He spent 18 years in prison and was released on parole in 1998.
Spengler had lived in his Webster house with his sister and mother Arline, who had died in October at the age of 91.
Pickering said before Monday's shooting, Webster police had not had any run-ins with Spengler since he was released on parole.
As a convicted felon, Spengler was not allowed to legally possess firearms but he still had a .38 revolver, a 12-gauge pump shotgun and a Bushmaster .223 caliber rifle.
The fire that Spengler started left at least 33 people displaced as seven homes and a motor vehicle were engulfed in flames.
Police said they were still investigating the motive behind Spengler's brutality but neighbours said Spengler shared a bitter relationship with his sister.
After his mother's death there were possible tensions between the brother and sister over who would inherit the family home.
"He hated his sister, but he loved his mama," a neighbour said.