Woman charged in connection with firefighter shootings
A 24-year-old Rochester woman has been arrested and charged in connection with two of the guns used in the Christmas Eve fatal shooting of two firefighters responding to a house fire in Webster, NY.
Dawn Nguyen faces both state and federal charges connected to the purchase of an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and a 12-guage shotgun used by William Spengler to ambush first responders to the fire on Monday.
Nguyen is charged with supplying Spengler with two of the three guns used when firefighters Lt. Michael Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka were gunned down.
U.S. Attorney William Hochul said in a press conference Friday that the charge is specifically related to Nguyen lying about the intended owner when she purchased the firearms in 2010.
“The precise charge against Dawn Nguyen has to do with lying during her purchase of these two weapons," Hochul said.
"Dawn Nguyen told the seller of these guns, Gander Mountain located in Henrietta, NY, that she was to be the true owner and buyer of the guns instead of William Spengler. It is absolutely against federal law to provide any materially false information relating to the acquisition of firearms."
Police said the act of providing your own name as the owner of a weapon when actually buying the firearm for someone else is referred to as a “straw purchaser”, and is a serious crime.
Nguyen allegedly intentionally purchased two guns for Spengler while he was present in the store, as he was prohibited from purchasing, acquiring or using firearms due to his criminal record.
Hochul said the act would not go unpunished.
“While William Spengler may have escaped the criminal justice system, those who provided the firearms to Spengler, that he used on Christmas Eve to murder and wound the firefighters and the police officer, will not escape the criminal justice system.”
Nguyen used to be the neighbor of Spengler on Lake Rd in Webster, and faces a maximum penalty for the charge of 1o years imprisonment and a $250,000 dollar fine.
Police say she does not appear to have connections to a third gun found next to Spengler’s body.
The date of Nguyen's arraignment in Henrietta Town Court has yet to be announced.