Posted at: 12/28/2012 2:02 PM
Updated at: 12/28/2012 6:18 PM
By: Associated Press
Police say a 24-year-old woman has been charged in connection with the ambush slaying of two West Webster firefighters.
Dawn Nguyen, of Greece, faces a federal charge of knowingly making a false statement, U.S. Attorney William Hochul said. She also was charged with a state count of filing a falsified business record, State Police Senior Investigator James Sewell said.
Sewell said the charges are 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.
Hochul said Nguyen bought the guns on June 6, 2010, on behalf of Spengler, who as a convicted felon was barred from possessing weapons.
"She told the seller of these guns, Gander Mountain in Henrietta, that she was to be the true owner and buyer of the guns instead of William Spengler," he said. "It is absolutely against federal law to provide any materially false information related to the acquisition of firearms."
"It is sometimes referred to acting as a straw purchaser and that is exactly what today's complaint alleges," Hochul 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, Connecticut, elementary school earlier this month.
Nguyen and her mother, Dawn Welsher, lived next door to Spengler in 2008.
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.
Spengler spent 17 years in prison for killing his grandmother in 1980.
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. The Spengler siblings had lived in the home with their mother, Arline Spengler, who died in October. In all, seven houses were destroyed by the flames.
Investigators found a rambling, typed letter laying out Spengler's intention to destroy his neighborhood and "Do what I like doing best, killing people."
He had been released from parole in 2006 on the manslaughter conviction, and authorities said they had had no encounters with him since.
The federal charges carry a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000 or both.
Nguyen was processed at the State Police in Rochester and given an appearance ticket returnable to the Town of Henrietta Court on January 8, 2013 at 5:00 PM.