EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSNEW YORK FIREFIGHTERS
from Eyewitness News Online
Police Don't Know Yet If There Are Other Victims In NY Shooting, Fire
Reported by: Associated Press
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Reported: Dec. 24, 2012 11:00 AM EST
Updated: Dec. 24, 2012 5:24 PM EST
Police don't yet know if there are other victims in the homes that burned near Rochester, N.Y. early Monday.
They said the fire was set by an ex-con in order to lure firefighters to his neighborhood -- and that when they arrived, he opened fire, killing two firefighters and wounding two others. He then took his own life.
Police said William Spengler had served more than 17 years in prison for beating his 92-year-old grandmother to death with a hammer in 1980, at the house next to where Monday's attack happened. He was paroled in 1998, and authorities say he had led a quiet life since then.
Seven homes ended up burning after Spengler set a car and a house on fire this morning. The gunman's sister, who lived with him, is unaccounted for.
The two wounded firefighters are in guarded condition at a hospital. Both are awake and alert and are expected to recover.
Authorities haven't yet determined what prompted the attack.
Police in New York state said a man who ambushed firefighters had served 17 years for manslaughter in the death of his grandmother.
Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering said William Spengler, 62, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.
Police said he set fire to a car and house to lure firefighters to his house on the shore of Lake Ontario early Monday.
When firefighters arrived, he opened fire, probably with a rifle. Two firefighters died at the scene and two others were hospitalized. A fifth first responder was injured.
Police don't know a motive yet.
A western New York police chief said a gunman who entrapped and shot four volunteer firefighters outside a blazing home is dead.
Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering said two of the firefighters were killed and two others hospitalized after the ambush on a spit of land on Lake Ontario just northeast of Rochester.
He also said the gunman is dead and an off-duty police officer who was driving by has injuries from shrapnel. One of the slain firefighters is also a town police lieutenant.
The shooting Monday morning happened in a quiet neighborhood of seasonal and year-round homes.
Police say four homes in all were destroyed and four damaged by the spreading flames.
Two volunteer firefighters are dead, and two others are hospitalized in critical condition, after someone opened fire on them this morning as they responded to a pre-dawn house fire near Rochester, N.Y.
There's no word on what happened to the shooter or shooters -- but the sheriff said there is currently no active shooter at the scene.
Sheriff Patrick O'Flynn said the first Webster police officer who arrived on the scene exchanged gunfire with a shooter.
The sheriff said the fire department received a report of a car and house on fire early today, and when firefighters responded, they were hit by gunfire. Officials said the fire started in one home and spread to two others and a car.
Webster is now the scene of violence linked to house fires for two Decembers in a row. Last year, authorities say, a 15-year-old boy doused his home with gasoline and set it on fire, killing his father and two brothers. He's being prosecuted as an adult.
The police chief in Webster, N.Y., said that four firefighters were shot while responding to a blaze in the town near Rochester and that two are dead.
Chief Gerald Pickering says "one or more shooters" fired at the firefighters Monday morning. Officials say they had arrived at the scene of the blaze near the Lake Ontario shore around 6 a.m.
Officials say a fire started in one home and spread to two others and a car. Officials say there is no active shooter at the scene.
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