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Crime & Courts

Ex-neighbor says NY gunman who killed 2 firefighters loved his mother but hated his sister


A house burns Monday, Dec. 24, 2012 in Webster, New York. A former convict set a house and car ablaze in his lakeside New York state neighborhood to lure firefighters then opened fire on them, killing two and engaging police in a shootout before killing himself while several homes burned. Authorities used an armored vehicle to evacuate the area. (AP Photo/Democrat & Chronicle, Jamie Germano) (The Associated Press)

A friend of a gunman who lured firefighters to a fatal ambush in upstate New York says he didn't seem violent but hated the sister who lived with him.

Roger Vercruysse (vehr-KREW'-see) says William Spengler was a good friend when they lived next door in Webster, a Rochester suburb.

Spengler set fire to a car and his house Friday and shot at responding firefighters. Two died, and two were injured. Spengler committed suicide.

Vercruysse says Spengler "loved his mama to death." Arline Spengler died in October, and Vercruysse wonders what effect that had on her 62-year-old son. He says he thinks William Spengler "went crazy" after she died.

Police say they don't have a motive for the killings on the shore of Lake Ontario.

Vercruysse says Spengler "couldn't stand" his sister, Cheryl Spengler, who's unaccounted for.

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