Webster, NY shooter used Bushmaster

| December 25, 2012 | 42 Comments

Fox News reports that William Spangler, who shot 4 firefighters, killing two, in a Webster, NY ambush yesterday used a “Bushmaster” semi-automatic rifle for his dastardly deed. According to New York State law the Bushmaster is banned;

It shall be unlawful to possess any “assault weapon” or “large capacity ammunition feeding device.” So called assault weapons lawfully possessed prior to September 14, 1994 and large capacity ammunition feeding devices manufactured prior to such date can continue to be lawfully possessed..

“Assault weapon” is defined as:

A semiautomatic rifle that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least two of the following characteristics:

a folding or telescoping stock
a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the actionof the weapon
a bayonet mount
a flash suppressor or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor
a grenade launcher

The Bushmaster Spangler used could have had up to four of those characteristics. And, oh, Spangler was forbidden to possess any firearm anyway;

According to police officials, Spangler has a lengthy criminal record, including a manslaughter conviction for murdering his own grandmother, Rose Spangler, when he bludgeoned her to death with a hammer in 1980. Spangler Served 17 years in prison for the his crime.

So, New York didn’t move to ban hammers after his first conviction?

Despite the fact that scary-looking weapons were banned in New York, one apparently made it’s way through the stringent barriers that the State erected to protect citizens from the things.

Category: Guns

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I pray for the families of those fireman. What a senseless act from a coward.

  2. Gun control needs to start with the laws already on the books…It used to piss me off all the time to arrest some con with a gun …and have that gun charges dropped in a plea. They need to add that anybody selling, loaning etc a gun to a felon will also be charged with all the crimes the felon does with the gun.

  3. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    Another nut job. He’s said to be over 60 and went to pieces when his mommy died not long ago.

  4. UpNorth says:

    Spengler was charged with second degree murder, and ended up doing his time for manslaughter, according to one report I heard. He “pled guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 8 1/3 to 25 years behind bars”. Sounds like the court shoved a plea deal through, rather than trying him, although if he’d gotten 25 years, he still would have been out.
    Also, the chief made an interesting point, “”This is an individual who obviously had a lot of problems,” he said, adding that there were “probably some mental health issues.” “Probably some mental health issues”? Gee, do ya think?
    There was also this, from the NBC station in Rochester, N.Y., “Spengler was a convicted felon and thus was not allowed by law to purchase or possess firearms. A source tells News10NBC that authorities do know the identity of the person who the guns are registered to and are now trying to determine how they got into the hands of Spengler”. Thought I’d get that out there, before David Gregory tells them to scrub that from the story.

  5. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    Nut job indeed.

    “Spengler was convicted of first-degree manslaughter in 1981 for beating his 92-year-old grandmother Rose Spengler to death with a hammer; he served 17 years in prison and had an “uneventful” parole that ended in 2006.”

    He beat his 92-year-old grandmother to death with a hammer? Of coursse, at the time he was a mere lad of 30 or 31 years. Who could possibly have foreseen that that a guy who kills a 92-year-old woman to death with a hammer might be a future problem?

  6. USMCE8Ret says:

    “…authorities do know the identity of the person who the guns are registered to and are now trying to determine how they got into the hands of Spengler.”

    That’s precisely the issue we’ve made on other discussions elsewhere on this blog.

    How, besides being stolen because they were unsecured in the first place by legitimate and legal owners, are these crazies and felons getting these guns? (Yes, I know there is a proliferation of them among other felons and the black-market, but COME ON!!!)

    What legal recourse takes place against irresponsible gun owners who let their weapons fall into the hands of kids or criminals? I’m just curious what other folks’ thoughts are in the matter.

  7. NHSparky says:

    I would support those who knowingly give or obtain weapons for those who cannot legally possess them being charged with the same crimes committed by the recipient while using that weapon.

    However, there would have to be serious protections for those who legally purchased a weapon and had it stolen, etc.

  8. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    @6. It all depends. There are people (some here, I guess) who would want to hold me responsible for what a car thief does with my car if I left the keys in it. Similarly, if someone steals my unsecured guns, my unsecured steak knives, or my unsecured baseball bats and kills people with them, there are those who would hold me partly responsible. If someone robs me because I am unarmed and buys a gun with the stolen money, am I reponsible for that? After all, I could have better protected aagainst a successful robbery attempt by being armed! It’s a matter of drawing lines and I personally don’t want to draw any.

  9. Flagwaver says:

    Unfortunately, that evil Bushmaster was able to make its way to the home of a reformed criminal where it set a fire and forced him to shoot those firefighters. Someone really needs to round up and execute all of those evil weapons before they make innocent people perform more criminal activity against their will…

  10. 2549 says:

    Unsecured guns is a slippery slope I do not want to go down. What’s the definition of “unsecured”? I’ve got a nightstand safe that serves no purpose other than to keep my 5 year old son out of. If my house were broken into, it’s all but certain that this “safe” will disappear. All it would take is a flathead screw driver and a hammer to break it open. Of which, both are themselves deadly weapons. Once my son is mature enough, or out of the house, I don’t plan on keeping the nightstand safe. It’s one more obstacle I have to overcome to defend my family, my self and my house.

    You can’t blame law abiding firearm owners for the crimes others commit. He killed with a stolen rifle this time. He killed with a hammer last time. What’s the common denominator? It’s not the weapon. It’s the perp wielding it.

  11. Just Plain Jason says:

    I think the main issue here is that a guy who beat his grandmother to death with a hammer was let back out onto the street. I don’t think that is a redeemable crime. A person who commits an act like that shouldn’t get a second chance at living among humans. They have revoked their humanity. It doesn’t matter if they have mental issues or not they beat someone to death with a hammer if it means putting them on an island and letting them live by themselves then so be it, but why do we put people like this back out on the street?

  12. Anonymous says:

    @8 and 10 – Points well taken here, as I consider my firearms secure (in a safe) that could likely be pried open if someone were able to find it in the first place. Agreed, though, I wouldn’t want to start drawing lines either, in regards to holding legal, responsible gun owners responsible in any way as 2-17 AirCav did with his stolen car anology.

    To get back on point like #11 said, I’m not sure any level of incarceration can remedy someone who perpetrated the murder of an old woman with a hammer. I recognize we don’t live in a perfect world, but I suspect some liberal left retard will chime in at any moment and tell us it’s possible.

  13. USMCE8Ret says:

    Sorry… #12 was me.

  14. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    @12. It’s the legal problem of what you can prove to support a charge and what you can’t. As improbable as it may sound, he could have claimed that she attacked him and that he grabbed the first thing handy to defend himself, the hammer. In short, we don’t have the facts. When faced with the improbability of a jury believing his story, he may have been offered a deal and took it, with the prosecutor knowing that a murder charge was not factually supported. I don’t know any of this for certain, w/o any facts.

  15. Joe says:

    Yep, that guy took a hammer and killed his grandma. Unfortunate it maybe but it was only 1 person. This guy had access to a weapon that allows him to kill many people. Please note that it was ‘fortunate’ that only 2 was killed this time (i’m sorry for them & their family for saying so) but it could have been dozens of or hundreds of victims. What happens if he decides to go to a school, kindergarten, and decides to kill many kids ? It could have been yours. You may say guns don’t kill only people kills but if you allow people access to guns you gonna have the same problem over and over and over again. You may have all kind of controls on those who can purchase but if one of those ‘valid’ (sorry i cant find a right word for it) persons one day (it may be days, months or years) goes berserk …

  16. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    “but it could have been dozens of or hundreds of victims.” Why stop there? It could have been thousands, tens of thousands even. Joe, you know the drill. You’ve been through this a lot lately. You want to do away with all guns. It isn’t going to happen. Next item.

  17. Ex-PH2 says:

    Send Joe down to the south side of Chicago, where only the criminals have guns. He can talk to them about the problem…if they don’t shoot him first.

  18. Joe says:

    “You want to do away with all guns. It isn’t going to happen” – Air Cav.

    Yes, i agree with you it will never happen with everyone having their right to own a gun even if it is an assault rifle.

    ‘Send Joe down to the south side of Chicago, where only the criminals have guns’ – Ex-PH2

    Why stop at south side of Chicago only? Go to any cities & towns in US and you’ll have criminals with ‘bigger’ and deadlier weapons than the cops. So who is gonna stop them? The army ?

  19. USMCE8Ret says:

    Yes, Joe. We know… we know.

    Your logic, like “our” guns, kills people at an alarming rate or have the potential to do so.

    So, Joe – let me ask you this? How many people must die by the hands of a hammer wielding lunatic before hammers are outlawed?

  20. Joe says:

    If you don’t stop the flow of guns this thing is gonna happen again & again.

  21. Ex-PH2 says:

    You did not answer USMC’s question, Joe. Don’t change the subject.

    How many people must die by the hands of a hammer-wielding lunatic before hammers are outlawes?

    Answer the question.

  22. USMCE8Ret says:

    (Maybe he went to bed?)

  23. Ex-PH2 says:

    Maybe he wet the bed? What?

    OH!! Sorry, ‘went to bed’. My mistake.

  24. Joe says:

    I didn’t change the subject. The comment was done before i noticed USMC’s comment.

    USMC/Ex-PH2,

    “How many people must die by the hands of a hammer-wielding lunatic before hammers are outlawed?

    What a silly question. Go count the number of people killed intentionally each year by hammers and number people killed intentionally with guns.

    Hammers are tools with the only purpose is to hammer in nails but some lunatic used it to kill someone thats all.

    What are guns used for ? Yep, it serves its purpose as a tool as well but only for shoot kill or hurt. Nothing more nothing less.

    If you guys can’t diff between that, then there is definitely wrong with the whole country.

  25. USMCE8Ret says:

    The point is that almost anything can be used as a weapon, in spite of its intended purpose.

    Firearms are used in sporting events, also called competitive marksmanship. They’re also used to protect cattle and other wildlife from varmints or damage crops, which otherwise cause havoc to someone’s livelihood.

    If confronted in a home invasion or while on a stroll through a parking lot, and you were in fear for your life, how would you defend yourself?

  26. UpNorth says:

    C’mon Joey, what about fire? Should we outlaw fire? After all, a convicted felon set a fire, and burned the house down around his sister, shouldn’t we ban fire?
    How about cooking? There were 166,000 residential fires because of cooking in 2010, we must ban cooking.
    Apparently, you’ve never gone target shooting. It’s what I do, hopefully I won’t have to do more than that. However, you don’t get to feed your feelings of moral superiority by denying me the right to have a gun.

  27. Joe says:

    “They’re also used to protect cattle and other wildlife from varmints or damage crops, which otherwise cause havoc to someone’s livelihood. – UMSC

    Agree with you there. Well do someone need an assault rifle in this case, a Bushmaster ?

    “How about cooking? There were 166,000 residential fires because of cooking in 2010, we must ban cooking”. – UPNorth

    You got to be joking ?

  28. UpNorth says:

    Not any more than you are. How about the 190,000 who die as a result of health care provider errors annually? The 30,000+ who die in auto accidents yearly? Where’s your angst for all of those folks? Or, is it just those who die in a shooting that deserve your angst? Or, are you just seeing an opportunity to further your anti-Constitution agenda?

  29. UpNorth says:

    Forgot this bit of stupidity, “Well do someone need an assault rifle in this case, a Bushmaster”? So, you’re the one who wants to make the determination of what is needed?

  30. Joe says:

    ” How about the 190,000 who die as a result of health care provider errors annually? The 30,000+ who die in auto accidents yearly?” – UpNorth.

    If you had read my comments properly you would have seen this : “number of people killed intentionally each year”. The word is “intentionally”. Its not about number of deaths in America but death in America due to firearms – intentional & not accidental. Looking at the following stats (countries that are considered 1st world, highly educated, countries)

    Death by firearms :
    Japan – 11
    Britain – 41
    Canada – 173
    USA – 9,146

  31. Joe says:

    Forgot this bit of stupidity, “Well do someone need an assault rifle in this case, a Bushmaster”? So, you’re the one who wants to make the determination of what is needed? – UpNorth

    I was referring to “Spangler, shooting at firefighters, killing two of them.” He was in possesion of a Bushmaster assault weapon.
    As to whether i determine what is needed or not, unfortunately “no’ and i know its the people who decides.

    Mine was a just comment on what can be done to resolve the PROBLEM but unfortunately some feel it goes against people’s right to choose what they want.

    “You decide & you live with it.”

  32. The Dead Man says:

    Man, if these guys are afraid of guns, wait until the psychos start figuring out other methods of havoc. Early nineties and Sarin in a subway? There were two incidents in Japan on that one. Bombs, who could forget those, certainly not a kid that remembers the IRA threat. 93 WTC, bomb and chemical, or was it biological weaponry? Man I’m pretty sure those are both illegal anyway. Oh wait wait, how about the Oklahoma bombing? Sure the ingredients for that particular bomb are harder to get, but with our open borders issues and the rising violence down south, I bet we’re going to see something nastier showing up. Well, maybe not. Oh! But then there was that recent thing in Indianapolis with the mechanical explosion… Well, maybe if we got rid of gun-.. no wait, there was a bow and arrow attack in southern Utah and numerous knife attacks and casualties with weapons as simple as a bat. Uh… how about fire? White guy torched by two black kids, news skipped over it in their frenzy for Trevon. It doesn’t really ever end does it?

    Joe, anyone reading this, anyone that doesn’t realize this. There are bad people, very bad people out there. It doesn’t matter what you try and regulate, short of stopping the true root of the problem, they’ll find a way to cause havoc. This case is a straight example of it. The guy was a felon, obviously one with a problem seeing as how he beat someone to death with a damn hammer. Rather than blaming the gun, how about we blame him for being psychotic and find a nice quiet cell for him to reside in, sedated and tended by the people in the nice white coats. Or maybe we can blame the people that let him out when it’s obvious he’s a burger and fries short of a happy meal.

  33. Joe Williams says:

    Speaking for myself,fast followup shots on herds of feral hogs. Sometimes I can down before run out of sight. The meat goes to the Feed The Hungy Progam. I have different rifles for different game and shooting terrain and distance. My firearms have killed nor wounded anyone. They have helped me feed some folks.

  34. NHSparky says:

    Go to any cities & towns in US and you’ll have criminals with ‘bigger’ and deadlier weapons than the cops.

    Such as? Up here in NH, the Keene PD just got a “free” Urban Assault Vehicle going for around $300K–for what purpose? To mow down a few hippie potheads and college students?

    Look at the correlation between CCW permits issued or permissiveness of obtaining them and crime. Notice anything? Finally, nice misleading stat on gun deaths. You do of course realize that over half the “gun deaths” in the US are the result of suicide, yes? And as far as murder goes, one is more than 3X as likely to be stabbed to death, or nearly 4X as likely to be bludgeoned/strangled.

    So what about those methods, Joey?

  35. Alex says:

    At the end of the day people have to answer one question is this person dangerous to others besides n defending himself? If so he needs to be eliminated from the planet period.

  36. UpNorth says:

    “I was referring to “Spangler, shooting at firefighters, killing two of them.” He was in possesion of a Bushmaster assault weapon”. Sayeth Joey, the Intrepid Rock Climber. You left one thing off of your story, Joey. “He was in possession of a Bushmaster rifle, illegally! He was a convicted felon, so it was illegal for him to even possess any weapon.
    The Dead Man had it right, if you chose to read his post, “how about we blame him for being psychotic and find a nice quiet cell for him to reside in, sedated and tended by the people in the nice white coats”. The authorities could have done that, but the ACLU and other bleeding hearts made it impossible to do so, he had to be “mainstreamed”, so his feeling weren’t hurt and his self-worth wasn’t damaged.

  37. Ex-PH2 says:

    Yeah, look at Joe’s statistics. Death by firearms.

    How convenient that he forgot to include intentional death by other means, such as poisoning, blunt force trauma, strangulation, stabbing, and smothering.

    I will guess that stabbing and blunt force trauma have the highest numbers in that group.

  38. 77 11C20 says:

    The question is how many of those firearms deaths were by a legally registered firearm by a the person who legally registered it and used in an illegal manner. Also remember when a police officer dispatches a bad guy it is an intentional firearm death. They are all gun homicides but not all murder.

  39. USMCE8Ret says:

    @31 – Firearms aren’t the answer, Joe.

    Intentional killings in this country, no matter how you want to define it, would still occur whether firearms existed or not.

  40. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    How does a guy who beat an old lady to death with a hammer ever walk free again? It should have been clear at that moment that this was a broken human who could not mix with others in a free society….

    Instead of worrying about a couple of dopers getting high in a garage taking up valuable jail space, perhaps we could keep the convicted murderers from getting out after less than a couple of decades…

  41. Anonymous says:

    @41…it sounds like he took a plea bargain, with a cop to manslaughter and was given a max sentence of 25 years.

    I sat with my brother, a Rochester PD officer, and his wife Christmas Eve morning watching the news as this tragedy unfolded. The RFD, RPD and surrounding FDs and PDs are all very tight and the news of what happened spread like wildfire through the community. One thing I can tell you is that the local news was extremely careful to delineate between assault weapons, which they deemed to be automatic weapons, and semiautos. While they may be incorrect by the letter of the law that Congress cooked up under Clinton, they were more accurate in defining what should be considered an “assault” weapon than the rest of the agenda driven media.

    My brother is on the streets in Rochester on a regular basis. For quite a while (and possibly even now) they had the dubious honor of having the highest per capita grand theft auto and homicide rate in the state of NY. Much as was the case in this tragedy, these crimes are not being committed by individuals who own guns legally. They are not even committed by people exploiting gun show loopholes. Seriously, when was the last time that you saw a bunch of thugs or whack jobs like this guy walking around a gunshow stocking up on weapons? Anyone who is stupid enough to think that even more gun control is a solution to the problem obviously is oblivious to how unsuccessful we have been in regulating illicit substances in this country through criminalization. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for decriminalization of those substances but I think the “War on Drugs” nicely illustrates why such an approach will not work.

    And while I’m at it…to the Liberal morons that believe that the NRA is way off base to suggest that excessive news coverage surrounding these killers doesn’t contribute to copy cat violence, do yourself a favor and talk to the FBI before you open your ignorant mouths again. In the last 20 years, there has been a dramatic shift in media coverage away from memoralizing the victims to practically glorifying the shooter. Do people honestly think it was a coincidence that this whack job picked the same weapons used at CT? Do people honestly think that the rash of kids threatening to bring weapons to school after the CT massacre was just part of the normal cycle of things rather than a bunch of disaffected kids trying to garner attention because a ratings crazed media put their own self aggrandizement before common sense?

  42. plebeian says:

    It is very interesting to me that every time something like this, a shooting by a felon or mentally unstable person arises, the media is quick to resort to “stricter gun control laws”. For some reason people don’t put the two together that when legal gun owners are stripped of their right to keep and bear arms, only the criminals have access to guns. Let me also say, people who don’t respect the laws of the land, or nation, don’t care what law is passed as they are CRIMINALS. Criminals are such because they don’t obey the laws. Gun control laws only control those who are presently OBEYING the LAW. I have heard the argument, ‘if guns are made illegal there will be no guns for the criminals to possess’. Tell that to the citizens of the countries once in the Soviet Block. I have a friend who is from Russia and lived there under communist control. The KGB had complete control of the people living in their regions, where I might add, gun possession was illegal but yet the Russian mafia always had guns. Here is a prime example of the statement ‘when guns are illegal only the criminals have guns’. What do those that advocate for guns to be illegal or difficult for law abiding citizens to obtain have in store for “We the people of these United States”?
    At the present time those that desire controlling our lives even further are at work to remove more of our freedoms by stripping us of our Constitutional rights, namely the right to keep and bear arms. If you believe as I do that this unacceptable. Then don’t wait write your Congressman today, right now. Don’t put it off. In the president’s words, ‘We want to move quickly on this’. We need to be as serious as those of the opposite view. Then make a phone call to your Senator and your Representative in the House. Let them know you will be following up with a letter and expect a knowledgeable response. Then send your original letter along with their response to your local news paper, so others will know how they responded which may spark them to take action as well.
    Here is a link so you can find your representative. Yes it’s an NRA site with an article pertinant to the subject at hand but it will get you the info your desire; http://nraila.org/get-involved-locally/grassroots/write-your-reps.aspx
    Thanks for reading, plebeian

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