Officials near Rochester briefed the media about the fatal shooting at the scene of a house fire in Webster. YNN's Seth Voorhees has been following the story all day and has more.
WEBSTER, N.Y. -- We're learning more about an apparent Western New York murder-suicide that took the lives of two firefighters on Christmas Eve.
Police say William Spengler, 62, intentionally started a fire as part of a plan to ambush firefighters. When they arrived on the scene of the early morning fire, officers say Spengler opened fire.
Firefighters Mike Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka were both killed. Two other firefighters and a police officer were injured, but are expected to recover.
Spengler was found dead and the medical examiner's office says it is due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Police say Spengler was convicted of beating his grandmother to death with a hammer back in 1981. He was released from prison in 1998.
Authorities are trying to determine how Spengler acquired weapons with his extensive criminal record.
"Spengler was a convicted felon. He's not allowed to possess weapons. Did he legally possess those weapons? No," Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering said.
The fire destroyed seven homes in total.
Webster Police Chief, Gerald Pickering, and other local officials hold updated media briefing:
CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Man who allegedly shot Rochester area firefighters identified
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Statement from Governor Andrew Cuomo:
“State Police and our State Office of Emergency Management are working in conjunction with local law enforcement to respond to the scene of the horrific shooting that occurred early this morning in Webster as firefighters and police responded to a car fire.
All of our thoughts and prayers go to the families and friends of those who were killed in this senseless act of violence.
New York's first responders are true heroes as they time and again selflessly rush toward danger in order to keep our families and communities safe. Volunteer firefighters and police officers were injured and two were taken from us as they once again answered the call of duty. We as the community of New York mourn their loss as now two more families must spend the holidays without their loved ones.
One behalf of my family and all New Yorkers, I offer my deepest condolences to the families and friends of those killed today and pray for the recovery of the injured.”