Arrest made connected to NY firefighter shooter's weapons - report

Sat Dec 29, 2012 2:54am IST

An undated image released by Monroe County Sheriff's Office shows William Spengler. REUTERS/Monroe County Sheriff's Office/Handout

An undated image released by Monroe County Sheriff's Office shows William Spengler.

Credit: Reuters/Monroe County Sheriff's Office/Handout

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REUTERS - A suburban Rochester, New York, woman has been arrested in connection with the weapons used in the Christmas Eve sniper deaths of two volunteer firefighters who were responding to a deliberately set house fire, local media reported Friday.

Dawn Nguyen was led out of her Greece, New York, home in handcuffs, according to photographs on the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle website. Nguyen was charged with offering a false instrument for filing, the newspaper said, citing New York State Police Senior Investigator James Newell as saying the charge is related to the weapons used in the predawn attack on Dec 24.

A spokesman for the New York State Police in Rochester could not immediately be reached for comment.

U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York William Hochul has scheduled a press conference for 4 p.m. ET (2100 GMT), his office said. No other details were immediately available.

The arrest comes four days after police say a 62-year-old ex-convict ambushed volunteer firefighters responding to a fire he had started at his home in Webster, about 12 miles east of Rochester.

In the attack, William Spengler killed two firefighters, Lieutenant Michael Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka, and wounded two others, Joseph Hofsetter and Theodore Scardino, police said. He was later found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a gun battle with police.

The remains of a woman authorities believe to be his sister, Cheryl Spengler, 67, were found in his burned-out home.

Spengler left a typewritten note saying laying out his plan, authorities said earlier this week.

"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," Spengler's note read, according to police.

Spengler had spent 17 years in prison for beating his 92-year-old grandmother to death with a hammer in 1981, authorities said.

Police said Spengler had an "arsenal of ammunition" and three weapons - a Smith & Wesson .38 caliber revolver, a Mossberg pump-action shotgun and a .223 Bushmaster rifle with a flash suppressor.

The same model Bushmaster rifle was used in the killing of 20 students and six teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14.

Authorities with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had been investigating the origin of the weapons.

As a convicted felon, Spengler could not legally own guns.

In addition to the four firefighters who were shot, an off-duty police officer was wounded by shrapnel as he drove past the scene, police said. The officer was treated at a hospital and released.

Seven homes in the neighborhood were destroyed by the fire, and two were uninhabitable, police said.

(Reporting by Dan Burns; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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