Webster Suspect Has Criminal Past

December 25, 2012 Updated Jan 20, 2013 at 11:47 PM EDT

By Allen Leight

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December 25, 2012 Updated Jan 20, 2013 at 11:47 PM EDT


Webster, NY (WKBW) - The gunman in Monday morning's horrific shooting was no stranger to police.

While details of William Spengler's violent past begin to emerge, many in Webster are questioning how a convicted felon was able to get his hands on a gun -- and why he was let out of prison at all.

Police say 62-year-old William Spengler ambushed first responders early Monday morning in Webster, killing two and injuring two firefighters, before eventually taking his own life.

Chief Gerald Pickering explains, "He died of a self-inflicted gun wound. His name is William Spengler, date of birth 9/26/50. Mr. Spengler has quite a lengthy criminal history."

Spengler is a convicted killer and served 17-years behind bars for killing his grandmother with a hammer.

He was released in 1998 and was on parole until 2006. Police say he had no run-ins with law enforcement since his release.

Spengler's mother passed away a few years ago. However, law enforcement officers are not sure if that played a role in Monday's shooting.

Pickering says, "We don't have an exact reason why but just looking at the history, obviously this is an individual that has a lot of problems to have killed his grandmother some years ago. And I'm sure there were certainly mental health issues involved. We are still trying to drill down at this time to find out what set him off."

Several types of weapons were found at the scene. However, as a convicted felon, gun laws prohibited Spengler from owning a firearm.

Pickering explains, "We've had all kinds of weapons larcenies both in town and around the county of late so I don't know where those weapons came from but we're certainly going to find out."