SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

December 26, 2012

Man who killed firemen left note about plan

WEBSTER, N.Y. — The ex-con who lured two firefighters to their deaths in a blaze of gunfire left a rambling typewritten note saying he wanted to burn down the neighborhood and “do what I like doing best, killing people,” police said yesterday as they recovered burned human remains believed to be the gunman’s missing sister.

Police Chief Gerald Pickering said 62-year-old William Spengler, who served 17 years in prison for the 1980 hammer slaying of his grandmother, armed himself with a revolver, a shotgun and a military-style rifle before he set his house afire to lure first responders into a death trap before dawn on Christmas Eve.

“He was equipped to go to war, kill innocent people,” Pickering said.

The rifle he had was 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., Pickering said.

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

Pickering declined to divulge the full content of the two- to three-page note left by Spengler or say where it was found, but read one line from it: “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.”

The human remains were found in the charred house that Spengler shared with his 67-year-old sister, Cheryl. A medical examiner will need to determine the identity and cause of death because the body is badly burned.

Spengler killed himself as seven houses burned around him Monday on a narrow spit of land along Lake Ontario in this suburb of Rochester. A friend said Spengler hated his sister, but the chief said the note left by him did not give a motive.

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