Firefighters ‘humbled’ by support
Funerals set for 2 killed in ambush; officials trace guns.
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.
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.