New York Gunman Left Note Declaring Plan to Kill People

New York gunman, William Spengler


A gunman who killed two volunteer firefighters and wounded two others in a Christmas Eve ambush in upstate New York left a typewritten note declaring his plan to burn down his neighbourhood and start “killing people,” authorities said on Tuesday.

The gunman opened fire on volunteer firefighters who responded to a house fire he deliberately set early on Monday morning in Webster, New York, a suburb of Rochester, authorities said.

The gunman, William Spengler, 62, shot and killed himself in an ensuing gunfight with police. He had spent 17 years in prison for beating his 92-year-old grandmother to death with a hammer in 1981, authorities said.

Police said Spengler set the fire, laying a trap for the firefighters, and opened fire when they arrived.

He left a typewritten note describing his intent, Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering said at a news conference on Tuesday, reports Reuters.

“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,” Pickering read from the gunman’s statement.

Pickering said investigators are looking for Spengler’s sister Cheryl, 67, who is missing and unaccounted for.

Spengler started shooting at arriving firefighters before they got out of their fire truck, Pickering said. He shot out the truck’s windshield as they tried to drive away, he said.

“This was a clear ambush on first responders,” Pickering said.

Police fired back at the gunman, he said.

“It was a combat condition. They were shooting at muzzle flash,” Pickering said.

Spengler was in a natural depression in an embankment near a tree when he opened fire, he said.