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Upstate N.Y. Gunman Killed Grandmother In 1980

Danny Lee |
December 24, 2012 | 1:36 p.m. PST

Executive Producer

The gunman shot at a group of volunteers responding to a fire in Webster, N.Y., about 12 miles east of Rochester. (Dougtone/Creative Commons)
The gunman shot at a group of volunteers responding to a fire in Webster, N.Y., about 12 miles east of Rochester. (Dougtone/Creative Commons)
The gunman who shot four volunteer firefighters, killing two, in upstate New York before taking his own life had served 17 years in prison for beating his grandmother to death in 1980, NBC News reported.

William Spengler, who had apparently set a trap to lure the firefighters, opened fire on the volunteers as they responded to a blaze just before 6 a.m. ET in Webster, N.Y., a lakeside suburb about 12 miles from Rochester. Spengler fired on first responders from atop an earthen berm in a shooting that shook up the close-knit community.

"It does appear that it was a trap that was set," said Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering. “People who get up in the middle of the night to fight fires, they don’t expected to get shot and killed."

As police closed in on Spengler, the 62-year-old committed suicide with a gunshot wound to the head, Pickering said. Spengler was convicted of manslaughter in 1981 after the death of his grandmother, Rose Spengler, and paroled in 1998.

Police did not identify what kinds of guns Spengler used, but as a convicted felon, he could not legally own firearms.


Read the full story at NBC News. Find more Neon Tommy coverage of gun violence here.

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Gary the Gun Nut (not verified) on January 25, 2013 1:24 PM

My dear fellow Gun Nutters™.

Taday I have sum good news fer y’all! Just stop ‘n think bout this fer one darn cotton pickin minute, if’n ya will…

Even if the friggin skaredycat libtards out there take way our guns, we Gun Nutters™ will still have access ta hammers, which our good friends at the NRA sez are responsible fer more deaths in the US than guns! (So tha meens thay mus be purty awesome weapons, rite?)

Matta fak, did y’all know that even as I rite this here letter to y’all there are hundreds o’ thousands, probably even millions, o’ semiautomatic hammers available in this grate nayshun o’ ours? Oh shure, thay don't call em that, thay call em “nail guns”. Sounds harmless, rite? But don't be fooled, these so-called nail guns are really semiautomatic hammers (‘n with the rite knowhow ‘n a little bit a tinkerin coud even be converted ta fully automatic hammers).

And while so far there have only bin a few fatalities frum semiautomatic hammers, it is a fact that cross the nayshun sum 37,000 people have ta go to ta hospital emergency rooms each year due ta serius injuries frum these (potenshilly) lethal weapons.

And y’all shoud check this one out rite quicklike; ya can own as many o’ these semiautomatic hammers as y’all want!

All ya have ta do’s go down ta yer local hardware store where’n thay‘s freely sold over the counter ‘n ya can buy one on the spot, no kwestyuns asked er background check rekwired. (I ask y’all, “How awesome is that?”)

And so I say to all ma feller Gun Nutter™ frens, I sez, “If’n thay take our semiautomatic rifles way frum us don't worry bout it, we’ll still have our semiautomatic hammers ‘n I know tha the friggin libtard carpenter’s unions will see ta it that we nevah lose those”.

Anyways, hope this here news helps ease any anxiety y’all mite be havin bout losin the luv of yer lives, sose y’all can rest easy now ‘n have a good day. Cheers!

becca (not verified) on December 24, 2012 2:13 PM

Call me judgmental,but if you beat your grandmother to death, you are an animal who will kill again, and again, and again. Even is he was horribly abused, to beat another human being, esp. your grandmother, to death indicates a hopeless, soulless, sub-human entity. I never used to believe in the death penalty, but now, after years of pondering have arrived at this: If it's a heinous crime, like beating your grandmother to death, and the investigation shows 99% certainty, PUT THEM DOWN. There is nothing left to them but a rabid animal mentality.