Four Volunteer Firefighters Shot In New York

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Police don't yet know if there are other victims in the homes that burned near Rochester, N.Y. early today.

They say the fire was set by an ex-con in order to lure firefighters to his neighborhood -- and that when they arrived, he opened fire, killing two firefighters and wounding two others. He then took his own life.

Police say William Spengler had served more than 17 years in prison for beating his 92-year-old grandmother to death with a hammer in 1980, at the house next to where today's attack happened. He was paroled in 1998, and authorities say he had led a quiet life since then.

Seven homes ended up burning after Spengler set a car and a house on fire this morning. The gunman's sister, who lived with him, is unaccounted for.

The two wounded firefighters are in guarded condition at a hospital. Both are awake and alert and are expected to recover.

Authorities haven't yet determined what prompted the attack.


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Police in New York state say a man who ambushed firefighters had served 17 years for manslaughter in the death of his grandmother.

Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering says 62-year-old William Spengler was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.

Police say he set fire to a car and house to lure firefighters to his house on the shore of Lake Ontario early Monday.

When firefighters arrived, he opened fire, probably with a rifle. Two firefighters died at the scene and two others were hospitalized. A fifth first responder was injured.

Police don't know a motive yet.


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Emergency radio communications capture someone saying he "could see the muzzle flash coming at me" as a New York state gunman ambushed firefighters responding to a blaze he had set to trap them.

The audio draws a chilling picture of the attack police say William Spengler carried out Monday morning in the Lake Ontario community of Webster.

The audio posted on the website RadioReference.com has someone reporting "firefighters are down" and saying "got to be rifle or shotgun."

Spengler set a blaze to lure the firefighters into his ambush. He killed two and wounded two other firefighters and an off-duty police officer before killing himself.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A western New York police chief says a gunman who entrapped and shot four volunteer firefighters outside a blazing home is dead.

Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering says two of the firefighters were killed and two others hospitalized after the ambush on a spit of land on Lake Ontario just northeast of Rochester.

He also says the gunman is dead and an off-duty police officer who was driving by has injuries from shrapnel. One of the slain firefighters is also a town police lieutenant.

The shooting Monday morning happened in a quiet neighborhood of seasonal and year-round homes.

Police say four homes in all were destroyed and four damaged by the spreading flames.


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