West Webster Fire Department Tragedy

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Date & Time
December 24, 2012 just before 6:00AM
191 Lake Rd, Webster, NY 14580 [Directions]

Note this is a developing story and the details are subject to change

The West Webster Fire Department Tragedy was the murder by William Spengler Jr. 62, of his sister and two West Webster volunteer firemen on Christmas Eve 2012. Mr. Spengler murdered his sister, Cheryl Spengler, and lured fire officials by setting his house and a car on fire around 6:00AM. When Webster's volunteer firemen arrived Mr. Spengler shot at and killed Michael Chiapperini, 43, a lieutenant with the Webster police, and Tomasz Kaczowka, 19. He also injured Joseph Hofstetter with a severe bullet wound to his pelvis, and Theodore Scardino with shots in the left shoulder and right knee. At the point the fire department had to retreat to a safe distance while police brought in SWAT. As police closed in, Spengler took his own life with a gunshot wound to the head. Police say he was equipped with four whiskey bottles of gasoline, a .38-caliber revolver, a 12-gauge shotgun, and a Bushmaster AR-15 type rifle with 30-shot magazine capability. One of four magazines had been used.

The total damage was four individuals (including the shooter) were dead, two firemen seriously injured, one police officer suffered a minor injury, one car destroyed, seven houses destroyed, and several more houses damaged. The leading theory to the cause of the incident was that Cheryl Spengler was planning to sell the Lake Rd house, as she had purchased a house in Henrietta. The brother and sister did not get along well, even though they lived together, and the selling of their childhood home might be considered the tipping point. Additionally the death of their mother in October deeply affected Mr. Spengler.

As Mr. Spengler was convicted of manslaughter in 1981 for beating his 92-year-old grandmother to death with a hammer in 1980, it would have been illegal for him to have guns. The week following the shooting saw Dawn Nguyen, a former neighbor of Mr. Spengler, charged with purchasing the firearms used in the shooting for Mr. Spengler 1. She was found guilty in State Court on April 15th, 2014 of a charge of falsifying business records and was sentenced to 1 1/3 years to 4 years in prison on May 19th. 2 She was later found guilty in Federal Court on September 17, 2014 for lying on the Federal forms for the purchase of the guns. She was sentenced to 8 year (concurrent her previous sentence)3 .

The two fire fighters who died had their named added to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Maryland 4. There was an attempt to get a Medal of Freedom for the firemen 5.

As this event followed the [wikipedia]Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting it influenced the state and national politics. It can be said that this incident contributed to the passage of the [wikipedia]New York SAFE Act as the Senate version of the bill included a "Webster Provision" 6 for life-without-parole prison sentence for anyone who murders a first responder])]].

[WWW]Greece woman found guilty in connection with West Webster tragedy


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