UPDATE: New York gunman dead; firefighters entrapped - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: New York gunman dead; firefighters entrapped

WEBSTER, N.Y. (AP) -- A friend of a gunman who lured firefighters to a fatal ambush in upstate New York says he didn't seem violent but hated the sister who lived with him.

Roger Vercruysse says William Spengler was a good friend when they lived next door in Webster, a Rochester suburb.

Spengler set fire to a car and his house Monday and shot at responding firefighters. Two died, and two were injured. Spengler committed suicide.

Vercruysse says Spengler "loved his mama to death." Arline Spengler died in October, and Vercruysse wonders what effect that had on her 62-year-old son. He says he thinks William Spengler "went crazy" after she died.

Police say they don't have a motive for the killings on the shore of Lake Ontario.

Vercruysse says Spengler "couldn't stand" his sister, Cheryl Spengler, who's unaccounted for.


WEBSTER, NY (WKOW) -- Webster, New York Police Chief Gerald Pickering says a gunman who entrapped and shot four volunteer firefighters outside a blazing home is dead. 

Pickering says two of the firefighters were killed and the other two hospitalized after the ambush on a spit of land on Lake Ontario just northeast of Rochester.

He also says 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.


WEBSTER, NY (WKOW) -- Two New York volunteer firefighters are dead and two others in critical condition, after someone opened fire on them as they responded to a pre-dawn house fire near Rochester. 

Sheriff Patrick O'Flynn says there is currently no active shooter at the scene, but there's no word on what happened to the shooter or shooters. 

The first Webster police officer on the scene exchanged gunfire with a shooter.

The sheriff says the fire department received a report of a car and house on fire early Monday morning.  When firefighters responded, they were hit by gunfire.

Officials say the fire started in one home and spread to two neighboring homes and a car.

Webster is now the scene of violence linked to house fires for two Decembers in a row.  Last year, 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.


WEBSTER, NY (WKOW) -- Two firefighters were shot dead and two others injured while responding to a house fire in western New York.

Officials in the Town of Webster tell media outlets someone shot at firefighters around 6 a.m. Monday when they arrived at the fire scene, just east of Rochester.

A fire official with the West Webster Fire District tells the Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester that a firefighter is listed in satisfactory condition at Strong Memorial Hospital.

The fire did spread to a neighboring home. 

A man answering the phone at the fire station said firefighters are unable to battle the blazes as long as the area hasn't been secured by police. 

The man said no other information was being released.

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