Police Find Human Remains in Webster Home

December 25, 2012 Updated Dec 25, 2012 at 4:25 PM EDT

By WKBW News
By Rachel Elzufon


Police Find Human Remains in Webster Home

December 25, 2012 Updated Dec 25, 2012 at 4:25 PM EDT

Webster, NY (WKBW) - Police say human remains were found in the home of the man who killed two Webster firemen.

Authorities found the remains while they were combing through the rubble of 191 Lake Road on Monday. Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering says the remains are believed to be the suspect's sister, 67-year-old Cheryl Spengler.

Earlier in the day, Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering called Monday's shooting a "clear ambush on first responders."

During a news conference on Tuesday, Pickering said they found "intent," but not motive, behind the shooting that left two firefighters dead and two others gravely wounded. Police found a suicide note, in which William Spengler allegedly wrote that he was preparing "to see how much of a neighborhood I can burn down, and do what I like do best -- killing people."

Spengler served 17 years in prison for the 1980 death of his grandmother. Authorities say Spengler killed his grandmother in the very home he set on fire.

Pickering says Spengler had "armed himself with three different weapons and an arsenal of ammunition." The weapons found were a Smith and Wesson .38 caliber revolver, a Mossberg 12 gage pump shotgun and a Bushmaster .223 rifle. A convicted felon, Spengler was not legally allowed to own any weapons.

Through the tragedy, heroes are emerging, including an off-duty Greece police officer. Shrapnel injured John Ritter when bullets hit his car. Pickering explains he "tried to back-up and shelter some of the fallen firefighters with his personal vehicle."

Another first responder, an unnamed Webster police officer, is credited with saving even more lives, by shooting at Spengler. It is unknown if the first responder's bullets hit Spengler.

Pickering adds that there has been an "outpouring of support" for the community of Webster. The West Webster Fire Department is working on setting up a web page for people to send donations to the affected families.

The shooting killed volunteer firefighters Mike Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka. Chiapperini was also a Lieutenant for the Webster Fire Department who had just been named firefighter of the year. Kaczowka was a 9-1-1 dispatcher for Monroe County.

Fellow firefighters Joseph Hofstetter and Theodore Scardino were wound as well. Both are listed in "guarded" condition at Strong Memorial Hospital. Pickering says both are still in the intensive care unit, but are stable.

Monday morning at about 5:30, four West Webster firefighters responded to a house and car on fire at 191 Lake Road in Webster. Police say 62-year-old William Spengler started shooting at the first responders. Two firefighters were killed and two others were gravely injured.

The blaze that firefighters responded to yesterday destroyed seven homes and left two more inhabitable. Police had to evacuate more than 30 homes with armored vehicles, with Spengler still on the loose.

Some of Lake Road is still blocked off, while police investigate the crime scene. The fires are mostly out, even though two homes still have hot spots.

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