A Greece woman has been charged with buying two of the three weapons that William Spengler, Jr. used in the Christmas Eve shooting of four volunteer firefighters. Since the rampage, many have been wondering how the man who took his own life, got his hands on the weapons.
According to law enforcement officials, Dawn Nguyen, 24, was with Spengler when she bought the guns for him in 2010. Authorities say she bought Spengler a Bushmaster assault rifle and a Mossberg shotgun in Henrietta, Monroe County.
“Providing your own name by buying a firearm, instead of the true owner’s name is sometimes referred to as acting as a ‘straw purchaser’ and that is exactly what today’s complaint alleges,” said William Hochul, Jr., a U.S. Attorney for the Department of Justice.
Two-and-a-half years later, the guns were among those Spengler used in his brutal ambush of first responders that killed two men, wounded three others and burned down seven houses in Webster. Another body was found in the ashes, believed to be that of Spengler’s sister Cheryl.
Webster police chief Gerald Pickering said Friday’s announcement is, “important for both the fire and the police side, it’s starting to bring some conclusions to our investigations.”
Around 1:40 p.m. Friday New York State Police, Webster Police and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives descended on the Alpine Road home where Nguyen was staying.
Nguyen, who once lived next door to Spengler on Lake Road, was taken out of the home in handcuffs.
Nguyen’s charges include a state count of first-degree falsifying business records, a class E felony. She is scheduled to appear in Henrietta Town Court at 5 p.m. Jan. 8.
Investigators say that text messages with a law enforcement officer show that she bought the guns for Spengler. Legal experts say that the messages or any other evidence revealing if Nguyen lied about who the weapons were for will be key.
Court filings show that Nguyen claims she bought the guns for personal reasons and that they were stolen.
Spengler was with Nguyen, a former Lake Road neighbor, when the weapons were purchased at the Gander Mountain sporting goods store in Henrietta on June 7, 2010, Hochul said. The rambling letter Spengler left behind, which Hochul described as a “suicide note,” informed authorities that the guns had come from the daughter of a neighbor.
Spengler could not legally own or purchase guns because of a felony conviction: he bludgeoned his grandmother to death in 1980. The felony with which Nguyen is charged carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.