Monday, December 24, 2012

Family Member of Man Responsible For Webster, NY Firefighter Ambush Which left 2 Dead: "It was a very volatile living situation."

William Spengler
Paroled in 1998 after serving 18 years for
killing his 92-year old Grandmother with a hammer
By Davy V.

Updated 12/27/12

The cousin of 62-year old William Spengler, the Webster, NY man who ambushed four firefighters, killing two, when they responded to a 911 call for a house fire, reached out to me today, to see if I could help her find out if her cousin Cheryl was in the fire.

The woman, who follows my blog, and who preferred to remain anonymous at this point, told me that her cousin William Spengler, or as she calls him, "Billy", lived at 191 Lake Rd. with his sister Cheryl.

"I have not heard what has happened to my cousin Cheryl, she lived in the house with Billy", she said.

"Their mother, my aunt, died a couple of months ago, leaving them living there alone, and it wasn't an ideal situation. It was a very volatile living situation", said the woman, from her East Rochester, NY home.

She added, "I was told Cheryl slept with a gun next to her bed as she and Billy did not get along and she feared him. They lived together and did not ever talk to one another, they both had psychological issues, I am devastated over this tragedy and to hear of all the innocent lives that were taken and people's homes burned to the ground, I just can't believe this."

Here's what is known so far.
Flames engulf 191 Lake Rd.

Around 6:00 a.m. Monday morning, Webster, NY firefighters Mike Chiapperini, 43, a 20 year veteran of the Webster, NY Police department, who was off-duty and responded as a volunteer firefighter, Tomas Kaczowka, 19, a 911 operator and part-time firefighter, Theodore Scardino and Joseph Hofstetter, an off-duty Rochester, NY firefighter, all responded to a 911 call for a structure fire at 191 Lake Rd.

According to Webster, NY Police Chief Gerald Pickering, it was then that William Spengler, from up top of a berm, ambushed the unsuspecting firefighters.

"At this time it appears that it was a trap, there was a house fire and a car fire, probably set by Mr. Spengler, who then laid in wait with armament and then shot the first responders", said Pickering said at a news conference, choking back tears.
Tomasz Kaczowka
was just 19 years old.

Mike Chiapprini and Tomasz Kaczowka were both deceased at the scene.

Theodore Scardino and Joseph Hofsetter were both taken to Strong Memorial Hospital in nearby Rochester, NY.

Scardino suffered serious injuries to his left shoulder and chest, with what Dr. Nicole Staffen described in a press conference as his shoulder blade broken in multiple places and injuries to his left lung.

Staffen also stated that
Scardino still had "missiles"
in his chest.

Hofsetter suffered a serious pelvic injury.
Mike Chiapperini
just weeks ago was named
Firefighter of the Year.

Also injured in the shooting was
Greece, NY Police officer John Ritter,
who was on his way to work and was hit
by shrapnel.

As for the shooter, William Spengler, he served 18 years in the New York State department of Corrections for the 1980 murder of his grandmother.

Spengler killed the 92-year old woman with a hammer.

Paroled in 1998, Spengler was on parole supervsion until 2006.

William Spengler was found dead nearby with what is believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Seven homes burned down and at least 30 people were evacuated from the area.

At the press conference, Chief Pickering said police has not yet been able to enter the home.

He did confirm that Spengler's sister, Cheryl, is missing.

Late Monday it was reported that
William Spengler had four bottles
full of gasoline, which were found
An emotional Webster, NY Police Chief Gerald Pickering
at press conference.
leaning up against the house.

It is believed that the fire was started when Spengler fired a flare gun.

That flare gun was also found on the scene.

Also recovered were a pistol, a shotgun, and a semi-automatic AR-15 type rifle with 30 shot magazine capabilty.

One of the magazines was spent, and three more unspent.

The AR-15 is the same rifle used in the December 14th Newtown, Connecticut Elementary School shooting which left 20 children dead.

It's also the same rifle used by James Holmes, in the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting in which 58 people were shot and 12 killed.

Spengler's mother, Arline, died on October 7, 2012.

In her obituary, it appears she requested that memorials be made to the West Webster Fireman's Association Ambulance Fund.

It is not known yet if that had is significance or connection to the shooting.

Many questions remain, including where Spengler, a convicted felon prohibited from possessing firearms, obtained what is believed to be a rifle used in the ambush.

New reports are that police now know the name of the person who the guns are registered to, and are now trying to find out how they wound up in William Spengler's hands.

Teddy Bear left at the Webster, NY Fire department.
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo described the Christmas Eve tragedy as a "horrific shooting" and a "senseless act of violence."

I will be updating this post as soon as more information is available.


Police have found remains inside 191 Lake Rd.
believed to be William Spengler's sister, Cheryl Spengler.
What's left of 191 Lake Rd.
where William Spengler lived.

William Spengler left behind a 2 to 3 page letter
before setting fire to 191 Lake Rd. and a vehicle,
and ambushing four firefighters, killing two.

In the letter, he writes "I still have to get ready to see how much of the neighborhood I can burn down, and what I like doing best: killing people."

Police have confirmed that Spengler was armed with a .223-caliber Bushmaster rifle.

That is the same make and caliber rifle that Adam Lanza used in the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school shooting.

In another development, William Spengler's sister, Cheryl Spengler purchased a home in Henrietta, NY and registered the mortgage with the Clerk's office on December 20th, just four days before incident.

USA Today newspaper is reporting that William Spengler obtained the weapons he had, including the Bushmaster AR-15 Rifle, with help from a former neighbor and her daughter.

Charges should come shortly.

A fellow firefighter and friend of firefighter Tony Scardino has set up a fundraiser to help the families.

Here is the link:

Click to Play video of burned down houses.

Click to Play 911 Audio

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I will be updating this post as soon as more information is available.