Posted in Felonies on December 28, 2012
A former neighbor of the Webster, N.Y., sniper who shot and killed two volunteer firemen on Christmas Eve illegally bought the guns used in the murder and was charged by federal authorities Friday.
Dawn M. Nguyen, 24, of Greece, N.Y., has been charged in federal court for acting as a straw purchaser for William Spengler, a convicted felon that was unable to legally buy guns. He was convicted of the murder of his grandmother in 1980. Spengler shot himself after murdering volunteer firefighters Michael Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka, and wounding two other firemen and an off-duty police officer. Nguyen is also facing state felony charges for allegedly falsifying business records. Nguyen lived next door to Spengler in 2008, two years after he was paroled for killing his grandmother.
U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced that Nguyen bought a Bushmaster .223 semi-automatic rifle and a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun from a store in Rochester, N.Y., in June 2010. He alleged that she knowingly made a false statement in connection with the purchase of the two firearms and actually acquired them for Spengler. She did not enter an immediate plea in the federal case, for which she may get 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Authorities explained that Spengler created a ruse by setting his car on fire and creating a blaze that spread to his home in Webster and six other houses. Spengler then began firing at the emergency crew as they arrived at the neighborhood on the shore of Lake Ontario. A court affidavit from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said that authorities first learned of Nguyen from a suicide note Spengler left behind in which he wrote that he had obtained the weapons from his neighbor’s daughter.
When officials interviewed Nguyen, she admitted that Spengler had accompanied her to the gun shop and that he picked out the firearms Nguyen purchased. But she claimed that she wanted the weapons for her personal safety, and that they were later stolen from her car. She never reported them stolen, however. Authorities also shared that Nguyen admitted she purchased the guns for the guy who was her old neighbor, even though on the federal purchase form she stated the weapons were for her own use.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Dawn Nguyen Arrested In Connection With Webster Firefighter Shooting,” Associated Press, December 28, 2012.