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UPDATED: Killer of firefighters left note. William Spengler wrote he was doing ‘what I like best: killing people.’ Human remains found at home.

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Earlier coverage herehere, here & here


Human remains, believed to be that of William Spengler’s sister, have been found at his burned out home. Click here for the story.


The Democrat and Chronicle reports this afternoon that William Spengler Jr. left behind a two to three page typewritten note that talked about his plans for the ambush yesterday. The killing of two West Webster FD firefighters, the wounding of two others and the fire that destroyed seven homes was somewhat outlined in his note. Only a portion of the note has been released by police.

Spengler’s rampage left West Webster FD members Mike Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka dead and wounded Theodore Scardino and Joseph Hofstetter.

Armed with a Bushmaster .223 semi-automatic rifle — the same weapon used in the Dec. 14 school massacre in Newtown, Conn. — a Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun and a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver and a stockpile of ammunition, William Spengler Jr. set a “clear ambush on first responders,” Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering said at a news conference on Christmas morning.

Spengler used that arsenal to follow through on the threats he made in a typewritten note discovered not far from where police found his body.

“I still have to get ready to see how much of the neighborhood I can burn down and do what I like best: killing people,” Spengler wrote in the note, which Pickering described as rambling, two to three pages long, and did not speak to motive. Spengler died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.


Comments - Add Yours

  • My Mom

    And no one noticed this guy,,,,,,or the danger he presented? Where did he get the weapons and ammunition,,,that is one of my questions I am waiting to hear.

  • Brad Lande. JFD,Il

    Burn in hell Spengler!!! RIP brothers Chiapperini and Kaczowka. 312 amazing calm radio traffic under fire ! Scardino and Hostetter pull through brothers.

  • Mark

    Don’t give this guy one once of publicity, remove his pic from In my opinion this brings out the nut bags for the next deadly shooting.

    • dave statter

      Okay Mark. That’s your opinion and I respect it. What research to you base this on or is that just your feeling about these things?


      • Mark

        Unfortunately no data just one persons opinion.

        • dave statter

          And I appreciate your opinion. There are a lot of people who feel the way you do. I have no intention of glorifying this guy. I believe this is the only picture I have run of him. I wanted to make sure I had pictures of the firefighters up first.

          Part of keeping people informed is providing the good, the bad and the ugly. My feeling is sometimes it’s important to see evil. Personally I would want to look at who would do such a screwed up thing.

          There are people who believe we shouldn’t share the radio transmissions or the information police released from the note he left behind. Some think we shouldn’t cover the story at all. Everyone has an opinion about how the news should be covered or not covered.

          My opinion is that it’s all information from which we can learn.

          This story was specifically about what he wrote. I think it’s important to see the person who wrote it. Sorry to offend you or anyone else.


          • Mark

            No offence taken. Love the site and I use as a training tool on a daily basis. Keep up the good work.

          • dave statter

            Thanks Mark. I enjoy discussing topics like this. There aren’t easy answers all the time.

      • Josiah

        I don’t know that there is any significant research to suggest this but it does make sense that someone who wants to kill themselves would be more inclined to do it in a newsworthy way such as this instead of just offing themselves in their home. It could go either way.

        • dave statter

          One would think you could be right. But you can also make the assumption they are inspired by all the violent movies out there. You ready to ban them all? They personally aren’t my cup of tea and I wouldn’t miss them, but I would miss some of the freedom that would vanish with such a ban.

  • OldSutterOne

    How this guy ever got out of prison in the first place defies me. At age 30 he killed his 92 y/o grandmother by beating her to death with a hammer. Who is responsible for that decision? How can you believe that that kind of behavior would not repeat itself? By the way, the “Sullivan Law” is one of the strongest gun control laws in the nation.

  • Retired Chief

    Too bad he wasn’t shot in a place where he could slowly bleed to death in agony. Scumf**k Bast**d

  • Capo


    I appreciate your perspective. Your reporting has always been impeccable by any journalistic metric and it’s that sort of focus that keeps me reading. But look at the bigger view. Publishing his picture probably won’t lead to more killings, it’s NEVER that simple.

    But I can’t help but think that the last thing that went through the head of this sicko (before the bullet he ate) to give him a measure of comfort was that his handiwork would lead to some sort of immortalization or memorialzation by the media. That though he died, his deed would live on in some sick legend or infamy created in our collective horror and disbelief. As John Doe said in “Se7en”:  “…what I’ve done is going to be puzzled over and studied and followed…forever…”

    • dave statter

      So Capo, you are saying I am giving him what he seeks. Interesting.

      Let’s follow that a little further to help guide me or those in the news business. Where is the cut off point on when it would be okay to show the photos of criminals and when it wouldn’t. Both at the upper and lower end.

      Would you think it okay to show pictures of criminals who were charged with a lesser crime? Should we not show any murderers? There will always be someone who is offended by it.

      Should we not show pictures of terrorists or someone who assassinated a public official?

      While you could be right in your theory I am not sure the remedy is workable.

      Much appreciated.


      • Capo

        I don’t think it’s that simple. To make a fire you need a little fuel, a little heat, a little oxygen, etc. The recipe for making a mass murderer isn’t nearly as linear, but like fire I believe that there are necessary ingredients. Fame is powerfully incentivizing. You probably also need to add equal parts of sociopathy, untreated mental illness, desire and access to some mechanism with which to kill large numbers.

        But here’s a good litmus test about the fame that accompanies mass murder: Sit down and name all of the more infamous mass murderers within the last ten years (Columbine, VT, Aurora, Seattle). From that list of names, make another list of at least one victim from each of those massacres.

        Which list is longer?

  • Dickey

    1000 paper cuts rubbed with rubbing alcohol and then dipped in lemon juice is too good for this guy. He truly will burn in hell. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims…any update on the survivors??

  • Sharppointy1

    Dave, is there a fund set up to help bury the firefighters? A good place for tzedakah, I’m thinking.

    • dave statter

      Here is the address for the West Webster FD where they are taking donations and online

      West Webster Fireman’s Association
      1051 Gravel Road
      Webster, New York 14580
      Phone: 585-671-4141

      The two injured firefighters are at the University of Rochester Medical Center. The hospital is at 601 Elmwood Avenue | Rochester, NY 14642 | (585) 275-URMC.

      • Sharppointy1

        Thanks, Dave. That helps.

  • Cappy

    Dave.. as a very regular follower of this site… thanks for your unwavering sense of rational thought and commentary. I always come way more informed as a result of following the various posts on here.
    Would you please consider posting the addresses of the wounded brothers for those of us that would like to send a get well/ condolence card from our respective depts. to the brothers at West Webster Fire?
    I would like to send a card signed from our dept. as many others may as well. Thanks

    • dave statter

      Let me work on it Cappy. Thanks for your kind words.

    • dave statter

      The two injured firefighters are at the University of Rochester Medical Center. The hospital is at 601 Elmwood Avenue | Rochester, NY 14642 | (585) 275-URMC.

      Here is the address for the West Webster FD –

      West Webster Fireman’s Association
      1051 Gravel Road
      Webster, New York 14580
      Phone: 585-671-4141

      Also, the fire department is taking donations at that address and online.

  • Dave LeBlanc

    Rest Easy Brother Kaczówka and Chiapperini.

  • The Old Pro 2222

    IIRC in Psychology 101 we were told that some people “just snap”. The neighbors and family will all say: “we never saw it coming”. Maybe this exact psychological situation did not happen in Webster, but apparently it can happen to anyone at anytime.

  • capthoco

    The guy beat his grandmother to death with a hammer. These type of people don’t just stop being crazy. This is the problem with our mental health system. He should have been locked up in a crazy house after he served his jail time for the murder. If he doesn’t fit into society he shouldn’t be in society.

  • Mark


    The problem with our mental heath is doctors won’t say if they have a problem on their hands. Between HIPPA and patient doctor confidentiality we will never fix this side of the problem.