TEMPLE (Decemeber 26, 2012)- It's been nearly 3 days since an ex-con shot two firemen to death, after setting a car and his home on fire in Webster, NY. The gunman fired at the firefighters when they arrived shortly after 5:30 a.m.
Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering said 62-year-old William Spengler, who served 17 years in prison for the 1980 hammer slaying of his grandmother, armed himself with a revolver, a shotgun and a military-style rifle before he set his house afire to lure first responders into a death trap before dawn on Christmas Eve.
Spengler killed himself as his home and seven others burned around him. A three-page typewritten note left by Spengler didn't give a motive for the shootings, Chief Pickering said. A line from the letter read, "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."
The killings are leaving many with questions, including local fire crews in Central Texas.
"It's a shock, I mean, you very rarely see someone target firefighters like that," Temple Fire Department Captain Todd Bachmeyer said.
Others in the department had a similar response.
"You just don't think about it at the time, but when something like that happens, I just wonder what this world is coming to," Temple Firefighter Brandon Fulcher said.
For Temple FD, the shootings add just another weight of uncertainty when responding to a fire.
"It makes it a little harder for us to deal with things because it gives us one more thing to worry about when we're going out everyday," Captain Bachmeyer said,
"We could very easily go into a house, and a guy with a gun could be around the corner. It's just the way society is now," Temple Firefighter Ronnie Salter said.
A motto entitled, "Everyone Goes Home," can be seen throughout the Temple Firehouse. During times like these, it's a phrase cherished by many in the department and will continue to be for days to come.
"When I see that, I think of my family," Temple Firefighter Fulcher said.
"When we see that, you know these guys will look after you. When I that, I know I am going to look after them."