Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Woman who bought weapons for shooter faces charges

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WEBSTER, N.Y. -- The convicted felon who ambushed firefighters on Christmas Eve, killing two, couldn't legally buy the guns he used but he picked out the semiautomatic rifle and shotgun and was in the sporting goods store with a neighbour's daughter when she bought them for him, police said Friday.

The woman, Dawn Nguyen of Rochester, was arrested Friday and faces a federal charge of knowingly making a false statement for signing a form indicating she would be the legal owner of the guns, 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 Newell said.

Newell said the charges are connected to the purchase of an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun 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-calibre revolver, but Nguyen is not connected to that gun, Newell 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, N.Y., 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."

The .223-calibre 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.

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.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 29, 2012 A24

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