Neighbor charged in firefighters' case

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WEBSTER, N.Y. -- The neighbor of an ex-convict who ambushed firefighters on Christmas Eve, killing two, bought the guns for him and lied to the seller, knowing that he wasn't allowed to have them, authorities said Friday.

William Spengler had picked out the semiautomatic rifle and shotgun used in the attack and went to the sporting goods store with the neighbor when she bought them for him, U.S. Attorney William Hochul said.

The neighbor, Dawn Nguyen of Rochester, was arrested Friday. She faces a federal charge of knowingly making a false statement for signing a form indicating she would be the legal owner of the guns, Hochul said. She also was charged with a state count of filing a falsified business record, State Police Senior Investigator James Newell said.

Shortly before her arrest, Nguyen told The Associated Press that she didn't want to talk about Spengler. A number listed in the name of her lawyer, David Palmiere, was disconnected.

The charges stem from the purchase of an AR-15 rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun that Spengler had Monday when firefighters Michael Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka were gunned down. Three other people were wounded before Spengler, 62, killed himself. He also had a .38-caliber revolver, but Nguyen is not connected to that gun, Newell said.

Police used the serial numbers on the rifle and shotgun, purchased on June 6, 2010, to trace them to Nguyen, Hochul said. The federal charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000 or both.

Nguyen and her mother, Dawn Welsher, lived next door to Spengler in 2008. Her brother, Steven Nguyen, told the Democrat and Chronicle newspaper of Rochester that Spengler stole the guns from Dawn Nguyen.

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