William Spengler, the gunman who shot four firefighters and killed two left a chilling message for officials after trying to burn down his neighborhood and massacre people in Webster, New York: he enjoys killing people.
The ex-con, who served 17 years in prison for manslaughter in the 1980 hammer slaying of his grandmother, typed out his intentions, but left police puzzled about his motive:
"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."
Police Chief Gerald Pickering said that William Spengler, a 62-year-old loner, had a penchant for killing and was ready for war: he brought plenty of ammunition for his three weapons, including a military-style assault rifle.
There is "all kinds of speculation" about why he wanted to destroy his neighborhood and kill firefighters and residents, Pickering said.
One theory is that he was upset about a donation his mother, who died in the past year, made to the fire department, he said. Another theory is there could be a connection to his arrest in the killing of his grandmother, he said.
Before his rampage on Christmas Eve morning, he set the house he shared with his sister ablaze to lure in firefighters. Investigators said that human remains found in the Spengler home may be that of his sister, 67-year-old Cheryl Spengler.
When firefighters arrived he started shooting, shattering the windshield of the fire truck that volunteer firefighter and police Lt. Michael Chiapperini, 43, drove to the scene. Fellow firefighter Tomasz Kaczowka, 19, who worked as a 911 dispatcher, was killed as well.
Surprised neighbors have weighed in, saying that Spengler was a nice guy who was very attentive to his mother, who passed away in a nursing home in October.
A former neighbor, Roger Vercruysse, said that Spengler was a nice guy who used to come over to Vercruysse's sister's house for holiday parties and would wave to the family from his front porch, where he often sat during the summer.
"He'd come to our house, we used to have picnics," he said.
"He loved his mama," Vercruysse said. "He always talked about his mother."
Spengler did not share the same closeness with his sister, with whom he shared his home, Vercruysse said.
"He told me he hated his sister and never could tell me why," he said. "I'd always wave to the sister, but she was not friendly."
Police are still trying to determine what Spengler's motive was, as a community mourns the death of two dutiful firefighters this Christmas holiday. This story is developing.