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Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-12-26

The gunman who killed two firefighters in upstate New York on December 24 left a note in which he vowed to "do what I like doing best, killing people", police announced Tuesday as details about his past began emerging.

The ex-convict who killed two firefighters in upstate New York on December 24 , using the same kind of gun as in the Newtown school massacre less than two weeks ago, left a letter vowing to burn down his neighbourhood and “do what I like doing best, killing people,” police told the press Tuesday.

Another body, thought to be the gunman’s sister, was also found on Tuesday at his home. It was not clear whether she died before or during the fire that the killer, 62-year-old William Spengler, set to lure the first responders to Webster, a town near Lake Ontario in western New York.

The typewritten note left by Spengler, who committed suicide as seven houses burned, provided no clear motive for the shootings, police chief Gerald Pickering said. Pickering qualified the attack as a “clear ambush on first responders”.

The police chief did not discuss the content of the letter, aside from reading one line: “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.”

Gunman beat grandmother to death in 1980

Meanwhile, new details about Spengler emerged on Tuesday, particularly concerning his relationships with his sister and mother. According to neighbours, the gunman loved his mother, Arline, who lived with her son and daughter until she died last October. But Spengler reportedly hated his sister, Cheryl, and lived on the opposite side of the house from her.

A relative who spoke to the press said that the two siblings had been fighting over who would inherit the house.

Spengler had a violent past. In 1980, at age 30, he beat his grandmother to death with a hammer. After pleading guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter, he served a 17-year prison sentence. He returned home in 1998.

As an ex-felon, Spengler was not allowed to purchase guns by law. But on Monday, he “armed himself with three different weapons and an arsenal of ammunition,” Pickering told reporters. Among those was a military-style .223-caliber semiautomatic rifle, the same model and calibre as Adam Lanza used to kill 26 people on December 14 in Newtown, including 20 children.

Pickering mentioned that Spengler surely had “mental health issues”, though no psychiatric record has been released for the moment.

In the news conference, Pickering noted that investigations were underway and focused on the existing evidence. “He was equipped to go to war and kill a lot of innocent people,” Pickering said.


Date created : 2012-12-26

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