In 1989, Firefighter Killer Wondered if He Might Kill Again

Nine years after killing his 92-year-old grandmother with a hammer, the man who opened fire on volunteer firefighters on Christmas Eve this year in upstate New York told a parole board in 1989 that he was worried he might kill again if freed, according to court documents. “If you were capable of it once, are you capable of it again?" William Spengler wondered out loud at an Oct. 3, 1989, parole hearing, according to state criminal records released by the New York Department of Corrections. "There is no reason why it should have happened,” he told commission members. “You know, hindsight is a great thing but it does no good." That exchange, which occurred at one in a series of parole board hearings from 1989-’97, took on added significance in the aftermath of the Christmas Eve attack, in which authorities say the 62-year-old Spengler set his home on fire in Webster, N.Y., and then shot volunteer firefighters who came to put it out. Two firefighters were killed and three others, including a police officer, were seriously injured. Spengler then killed himself as police closed in.

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