Wednesday, February 21, 2018

N.Y. man who killed three left note on fire, killing plan

WEBSTER, N.Y. — A former convict killed two volunteer firefighters with the same caliber and make military-style rifle used in the Connecticut school massacre after typing a note pledging to burn down his neighborhood and "do what I like doing best, killing people," police said Tuesday, as another body was found.

William Spengler, 62, who served 17 years in prison for manslaughter in the 1980 hammer slaying of his grandmother, set his house afire early Monday before taking a revolver, a shotgun and a semiautomatic rifle to a sniper position in the town of Webster, police Chief Gerald Pickering said.

The death toll in the town, a suburb of Rochester, rose to four as police revealed that a body believed to be the killer's 67-year-old sister, Cheryl Spengler, was found in his fire-ravaged home.

Authorities say he sprayed bullets at the first responders, killing two firefighters and injuring two others who remained hospitalized Tuesday in stable condition.

He then killed himself as seven houses burned on a sliver of land along Lake Ontario.

Police recovered a military-style .223-caliber semiautomatic Bushmaster rifle with flash suppression, the same make and caliber weapon used in the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn., that killed 26 people, including 20 young children, Pickering said.

The chief said it was believed the firefighters were hit with shots from the rifle given the distance but the investigation was incomplete.

The two- to three-page typewritten rambling note left by Spengler did not reveal what set off the killer or provide a motive for the shootings, Pickering said. He called the attack a "clear ambush on first responders."

He declined to reveal the note's full content or say where it was found. He read only one chilling line: "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."

Pickering said it was unclear whether the person believed to be Spengler's sister died before or during the fire. "It was a raging inferno in there," he said.

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