WEBSTER, N.Y. Police In Webster, N.Y., say the man who lured firefighters to their deaths in a blaze of gunfire left a typewritten note saying he wanted to burn down the neighborhood and "do what I like doing best, killing people."
Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering said Tuesday that the man's sister hasn't been found yet. He said 62-year-old ex-convict William Spengler armed himself with three weapons and set his house afire to lure first responders into a death trap.
Two firefighters were shot dead and two others are hospitalized. Spengler killed himself as seven houses burned around him Monday.
About 100 people attended an impromptu memorial vigil Monday evening in Webster, a suburb of Rochester. Dozens of bouquets were left at the fire station, along with a handwritten sign that said, "Thanks for protecting us. RIP."
Spengler had been living in the home in Webster, a suburb of Rochester, with his mother and sister since his parole in 1998. He had served 17 years in prison in the beating death of his 92-year-old grandmother in 1980, for which he had originally been charged with murder but pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter. His mother, Arline, died in October.
On Monday, Spengler fired at the four firefighters when they arrived shortly after 5:30 a.m. at the blaze, town police Chief Gerald Pickering said. The first police officer who arrived chased the gunman and exchanged shots.
Spengler lay in wait outdoors for the firefighters' arrival, then opened fire probably with a rifle and from atop an earthen berm, Pickering said. "It does appear it was a trap," he said.
Authorities used an armored vehicle to help residents flee dozens of homes on the shore of Lake Ontario a day before Christmas. Police restricted access to the neighborhood, and officials said it was unclear whether there were other bodies in the seven houses left to burn.