This 2006 image provided by the Monroe County Sheriff's Department shows William H. Spengler Jr., 62, who served 17 years in prison for the 1980 slaying of Rose Spengler, 92, inside her home.(Photo: Monroe County Sheriff's Department via AP)
ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Autopsy reports released Thursday confirmed that
the Webster, N.Y., man who shot four volunteer firefighters responding
to a house fire on Christmas Eve was struck only with a bullet from his
William Spengler Jr., 62, died Monday of a
self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to New York State
Police. That detail, shared earlier this week by Webster Police Chief
Gerald Pickering, was confirmed by an autopsy performed by the Monroe
County Medical Examiner's Office, New York State Police announced
On Monday morning, Spengler fatally shot Mike
Chiapperini, 43, and Tomasz Kaczowka, 19, as they responded to put out a
house and car fire. Two other volunteer firefighters Joseph Hofstetter
and Theodore Scardino were both shot and seriously injured as they
arrived on the scene shortly after 5:35 a.m. Seven homes burned to the
ground Monday and two other houses were heavily damaged and are no
Chiapperini, who was also a 20-year member of the
Webster Police Department, died as a result of a single gunshot wound,
troopers said. Kaczowka, a 911 dispatcher and the best friend of
Chiapperini's son, died from two gunshot wounds.
Additional details on those wounds were not released.
had exchanged gunfire with a Webster police officer shortly after he
fired at the firefighters. Autopsy results showed Spengler was not
struck by any bullets fired by the officer.
The Medical Examiners
Office continues to evaluate human remains found in the charred remnants
of Spengler's house on Christmas Day, troopers said. Pickering on
Tuesday said authorities believed those remains belonged to Spengler's
sister Cheryl Spengler, 67, who also lived at the Webster house.
and Scardino continue to recover from their injuries at Strong Memorial
Hospital. Both men were listed in satisfactory condition Thursday,
according to a hospital spokeswoman.
Authorities continue to investigate the incident. The cause and origin of the massive fire were not released.
was arrested by Webster police in 1980 for beating his 92-year-old
grandmother to death with a hammer. He served 17 years in New York State
prison on manslaughter charges, police officials said.
Webster, with a population of 5,000, is located northeast of Rochester, N.Y.
Trooper Mark O'Donnell said investigators weren't releasing
information about how Spengler got the military-style Bushmaster
.223-caliber semiautomatic rifle, 12-gauge shotgun and .38-caliber
revolver found with his body. He said they're still tracing the history
of the guns. As a convicted felon, Spengler was barred from possessing
The rifle, which had a combat-style flash suppressor, is
similar to the one used by the gunman who massacred 20 children and six
women in a Newtown, Conn., elementary school earlier this month.
found a rambling, typed letter laying out Spengler's intention to
destroy his neighborhood and "do what I like doing best, killing
He had been released from parole in 2006 on the
manslaughter conviction and authorities said they had had no encounters
with him since.
Visiting hours for Chiapperini and Kaczowka will
be at Webster Schroeder High School on Friday and Saturday. A funeral
for Chiapperini is scheduled for Sunday at the school, with burial in
West Webster Cemetery.
A funeral Mass for Kaczowka, who worked as a
Monroe County emergency dispatcher, will be held Monday in Rochester at
St. Stanislaus Church, with burial at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.
Victoria E. Freile, Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle