The New York gunman who set a trap for firefighters and first responders and killed two firefighters left an eerie, typewritten note describing what he wanted to do to the neighborhood. In it, he wrote that he wanted to "burn down the neighborhood and do what I like doing best, killing people."
The Associated Press released the note in the aftermath of the tragic shooting that occurred on Monday. William Spengler, 62, deliberately set off a fire before laying in wait to kill the first responders. He managed to shoot four men, killing two, before killing himself as the homes burned.
Spengler was an ex-convict who spent 17 years in prison for beating his 92-year-old grandmother to death with a hammer. According to the New York Times, Spengler lived in the same home with his mother and sister, though his mother died earlier this year. He reportedly loved his mother but could not stand his sister, and authorities are having a hard time tracking her in the wake of the shooting.
"He stayed in one part [of the house] with his mother, and his sister stayed in the other part, and they never talked to each other," a neighbor, Roger D. Vercruyssse, told the Times.
"There were certainly mental health issues involved," Police Chief Gerald L. Pickering told the Times. "We know that people are slipping through the cracks, not getting the help they need. And I suspect that this gentleman slipped through the cracks. Maybe he should have been under more intense supervision, maybe he should not have been in the public, maybe he should have been institutionalized, having his problems dealt with," Pickering added in an interview.
Michael J. Chiapperini, 43, and Tomasz Kaczowka, 19, were the two responders killed in the attack. Theodore Scardino and Joseph Hofstetter were last listed in "guarded to stable condition" at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.