As first responders moved in to battle the blaze, a gunman who is still at large opened fire, prompting officials to evacuate the entire scene while the flames enveloped the house and spread to neighboring residences. A SWAT team was called to the scene to investigate. At least three houses are reported to have burned down.
Last week, National Rifle Association president Wayne LaPierre’s asserted that the only way to stop gun violence is to arm potential victims. But this incident is a sad reminder that sometimes even first responders are unable to protect themselves against gun violence while in the line of duty.
More: Longtime Criminal Set A Trap To Murder Firefighters, Say Policem
Sec 24, 2012
The Webster, New York man who fired on firefighters responding to a blaze, killing two, is a felon convicted of manslaughter, according to local police. Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering told a press conference this morning that the suspect was William Spengler, who served roughly 18 years on manslaughter charges for killing his 92 year old grandmother. Spengler had a number of run-ins with the police after that, according to Pickering.
Because Spengler was convicted a felon, he was supposed to be legally barred from owning a gun. However, because of the so-called “gun show loophole” — a National Rifle Assocation (NRA) supported-policy that allows “private” gun sales to take place without background checks — it’s possible Spengler could have purchased his weapon without the seller even checking whether he could legally own a gun or had a history of violence. Guns bought in this manner are used in 80 percent of violent firearm crimes across the country. Moreover, it’s very easy, as a consequence of another set of NRA-supported changes to federal law, for some felons to get their right to own guns reinstated.
When asked about the nature of Spengler’s murderous assault on the firefighters, Pickering said that, from what they could tell so far, “it was a trap.”