Fire­fight­ers ‘hum­bled’ by sup­port

Fu­ner­als set for 2 killed in am­bush; of­fi­cials trace guns.

Austin American-Statesman - - ADS - By Ge­orge M.Walsh

Two fire­fight­ers wounded by a gun­man who set his up­state New York house ablaze and killed two of their col­leagues in an am­bush were on the mend Wed­nes­day and said they were thank­ful for the sup­port they’ve re­ceived.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors, mean­while, traced the gun­man’s weapons and tried to con­firm a body found in his charred house was that of his sis­ter.

West Web­ster vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers Joseph Hof­stet­ter and Theodore Scardino were up­graded to sat­is­fac­tory con­di­tion. Rochester’s Strong Me­mo­rial Hospi­tal re­leased a state­ment from them say­ing they were “hum­bled and a bit over­whelmed by the out­pour­ing of well wishes for us and our fam­i­lies.”

The fire­fight­ers said their “thoughts and prayers” were with the fam­i­lies of col­leagues Michael Chi­ap­perini and To­masz Kac­zowka, killed by Wil­liam Spen­gler Jr., a con­victed felon Two fire­fight­ers wounded by Spen­gler said their prayers were with loved ones of vic­tims Michael Chi­ap­perini and To­masz Kac­zowka. barred from hav­ing guns. Fu­ner­als are set in the next few days for the two.

Au­thor­i­ties said Spen­gler set a car on fire and torched his Web­ster home on the Lake On­tario shore, then took up a sniper’s po­si­tion and opened fire on the first fire­fight­ers to ar­rive on Christ­mas Eve.

Spen­gler, 62, traded ri­fle fire with a Web­ster po­lice of­fi­cer, then killed him­self with a gun­shot blast to the head.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors found a ram­bling, two- to three­p­age typed let­ter lay­ing out Spen­gler’s in­ten­tion to de­stroy his neigh­bor­hood and “do what I like do­ing best, killing peo­ple.”

They be­lieve re­mains found in the burned home are those of Cheryl Spen­gler, but that had not been con­firmed Wed­nes­day and it was un­known how she died. The Spen­gler sib­lings had lived in the home with their mother, Ar­line Spen­gler, who died in Oc­to­ber. In all, seven houses were de­stroyed.

There also was no word from au­thor­i­ties about how Wil­liam Spen­gler, who served time for his grand­mother’s beat­ing death, ob­tained the three guns found: a mil­i­tarystyle Bush­mas­ter .223-cal- iber semi­au­to­matic ri­fle, a 12-gauge shot­gun and a .38-cal­iber re­volver.

The ri­fle, which had a com­bat-style flash sup­pres­sor, is the same kind used by a gun­man to kill 20 chil­dren and six staff mem­bers at a New­town, Conn., ele­men­tary school ear­lier this month. Fed­eral au­thor­i­ties con­firmed Wed­nes­day they traced sale of the weapons, but did not re­lease de­tails.

Spen­gler spent 17 years in prison for beat­ing his grand­mother to death in 1980. He was re­leased in 2006.

Jamie ger­mano / demo­crat & chron­i­cle

Ken Horn Jr. (left) and Ken Horn Sr. ex­am­ine what re­mains of Ken Sr.’s house in Web­ster, N.Y., Wed­nes­day. The house was de­stroyed when neigh­bor Wil­liam Spen­gler set a fire, then killed two fire­fight­ers.



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