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Firefighter Shootings Update: Woman arrested, linked to guns in N.Y. Christmas Eve ambush, police say

Monroe County Sheriff Deputy Chief Steve Scott, second from right, and Webster Police Lt. Joseph Rieger stand by the photo of the dead and injured firefighters during a news conference in Webster, N.Y., Dec. 25, 2012. Authorities say William Spengler, 62, who served 17 years in prison for manslaughter in the 1980 hammer slaying of his grandmother, set his house afire then sprayed bullets at first responders, killing two firefighters and injuring two others. He then killed himself as seven houses burned on a sliver of land along Lake Ontario. AP Photo/Marie De Jesus

William Spengler
William Spengler, undated photo
Monroe County Sheriff's Office
(CBS/AP) WEBSTER, N.Y. - A 24-year-old woman was arrested Friday and charged in connection with the guns used in the Christmas Eve ambush slaying of two volunteer firefighters responding to a house fire in upstate New York.

PICTURES: Cops: NY ex-con gunned down firefighters

Dawn Nguyen of Rochester faces state and federal charges, State Police Senior Investigator James Sewell said.

Sewell said the state charge of filing a falsified business record is connected to the purchase of an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun that William Spengler had with him Monday when firefighters Michael Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka were gunned down. Three other people were wounded before the 62-year-old Spengler killed himself.

He also had a .38-caliber revolver, but Nguyen is not connected to that gun, Sewell said.

The .223-caliber Bushmaster 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.

Nguyen and her mother, Dawn Welsher, lived next door to Spengler in 2008. On Wednesday and again on Friday, shortly before her arrest, she answered her cellphone and told The Associated Press that she didn't want to talk about Spengler. Her brother, Steven Nguyen, told the Democrat and Chronicle newspaper of Rochester that Spengler stole the guns from Dawn Nguyen.

Spengler set a car on fire and touched off an inferno in his Webster home on a strip of land along the Lake Ontario shore, took up a sniper's position and opened fire on the first firefighters to arrive at about 5:30 a.m. on Christmas Eve, authorities said. He wounded two other firefighters and an off-duty police officer who was on his way to work.

A Webster police officer who had accompanied the firefighters shot back at Spengler with a rifle in a brief exchange of gunfire before the gunman killed himself, an autopsy determined.

Spengler spent 17 years in prison for killing his grandmother in 1980 and was barred from possessing weapons as a convicted felon.

Investigators still haven't released the identity of remains found in William Spengler's burned house. They have said they believe the remains are those of his 67-year-old sister, Cheryl

Spengler, who also lived in the house near Rochester and has been unaccounted for since the killings.

Complete coverage of the Webster firefighter shootings on Crimesider

  • Barry Leibowitz

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