The upstate New York ex-con who set fire to buildings and killed two volunteer firefighters yesterday during an ambush in Webster, NY left behind a disturbing note, stating, "I still have to get ready to see how much of the neighborhood I can burn down and do what I like to do best - killing people." And police think the weapon he used was a .223 Bushmaster rifle—the same semi-automatic used in the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school massacre.
Spengler, who had served 17 years of a 25-year prison sentence for killing his grandmother, apparently set fire to a house and a car to lure volunters firefighters and other responders. From a berm, Spengler fired at firefighters, killing Police Lt. Mike Chiapperini, 43, and Tomasz Kaczowka, 19. Fellow volunteer firefighters were hit—Joseph Hofstetter in the pelvis and spine and Theodore Scardino in the chest and knee. Because of the shooter situation, firefighters weren't able to battle the fire as police looked for Spengler, and neighboring homes burned down. Spengler's body was later found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Police Chief Gerald Pickering says that police found a rambling two- to three-page typewritten note. The NY Times reports, "Chief Pickering also said that it was likely that the gunman used a semi-automatic rifle, one of three weapons recovered from the shooting scene, to kill the firefighters. He identifed the semi-automatic as a .223 Bushmaster rifle, the same weapon used in the school massacre in Newtown, Conn."
Pickering said the Bushmaster seemly likely because of the distance; according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, "That rifle, he said, was equipped with a flash suppressor, intended to reduce the visibility of a shooter during firing."
Overall, NBC 10's sources say that Spengler, who could not legally own guns, had "four whiskey bottles of gasoline, a pistol and an AR-15 type rifle with 30-shot magazine capability. One of the four magazines had been used. "
Spengler had shared a home with his mother and sister. His mother, who he loved dearly, died earlier this year. Reportedly, he did not get along with his sister, who has not been located.