New York shooter used same weapon as shooter in Newtown

William Spengler used a .223-caliber semiautomatic Bushmaster rifle when he fired on firefighters

Jillian Rayfield
December 26, 2012 7:27PM (UTC)

The Associated Press reports that William Spengler, the shooter who opened fire on firefighters in Webster, New York, used the same weapon as the shooter in Newtown, Conn.

Police recovered a .223-caliber semiautomatic Bushmaster rifle, which Spengler used to kill two firefighters and wound two others. “He was equipped to go to war and kill a lot of innocent people,” said Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering.


Spengler also wrote a several page note before setting fire to his home: "I still have to get ready to see how much of the neighborhood I can burn down, and do what I like doing best, killing people."

“It appears it was a trap,” Pickering said in a press conference on Monday. “People get up in the middle of the night to fight fires. They don’t expect to get shot and killed.”

From the New York Daily News:


In 1981 Spengler admitted to killing his grandmother with a hammer. He served a 17-year prison sentence and had an uneventful parole to 2006.

As a convicted felon, Spengler was not allowed to own guns. Police were examining the possibility Spengler had stolen the weapons, and whether he had a vendetta against the local fire department.

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Bushmaster Rifle Firefighters Gun Violence New York Newtown School Shooting

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