Police in Webster, New York have a theory about how William Spengler killed two firefighters yesterday. Preliminary indications are that he opened up on the firefighters with an assault rifle. Specifically, a .223 caliber Bushmaster--the same weapon Adam Lanza used in Newtown.
Though police don’t yet know for sure which weapon was used to kill the two firefighters, Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering said the distance suggests it was the rifle. Spengler staked out a sniper’s position to shoot at first responders as they arrived. His rifle was equipped with a flash suppressor, designed to conceal the shooter’s location while firing.Whether it was the assault rifle or not, a lot of people have a lot of explaining to do. How in the world did a convicted felon manage to get his hands on any gun at all, let alone an assault rifle? And how did the system lose track of him, given that it was apparently known he had mental problems?
Police also made a grisly discovery earlier today--human remains, most likely those of Spengler's sister, Cheryl. She lived in the same house as Spengler. And based on a note he left announcing his plans to destroy the neighborhood and kill any first responders who showed up, it looks like Spengler considered her collateral damage.
Eight families, it turns out, were also collateral damage in Spengler's mind. According to the Democrat and Chronicle, in addition to the six families who got burned out, two more homes are so badly damaged that they aren't inhabitable. The best way to lend them a hand that I've found so far is the Red Cross disaster fund--click here to donate.
6:01 PM PT: Some first-hand information from Wayward Wind, whose son is on the Rochester SWAT team: Spengler was definitely using the Bushmaster. He was setting himself for a standoff too--he was dressed in full camo, and had all of his weapons loaded. Fortunately, Webster police and Monroe County sheriff's deputies boxed him in by closing off the east and west sides of the railway bed he was using. That left his only escape routes as a freezing swim in Irondequoit Bay or Lake Ontario.