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The shooting dead of two New York state firefighters on Christmas Eve has fuelled the debate on gun ownership in the USA, already reignited after the Sandy Hook massacre.

Three other emergency crew were injured in an apparent ambush by a lone gunman who set fire to his home, according to police. Suspect William Spengler then killed himself.

“He armed himself with three different weapons, and an arsenal of ammunition,” said local police chief Gerald Pickering.

“He armed himself with a Smith and Wesson .38 revolver, a Mossberg 12 gauge pump shotgun, and a .223 Bushmaster rifle with a flash suppressor.”

The remains of another person were found in Spengler’s burnt-out home. His older sister is missing.

He had already served a 17 year sentence for killing his grandmother.

In total, seven properties in Webster, in New York state, were destroyed by the fire. Spengler left a note describing his plans.

Pickering said: “I’ll read to you one of the sentences out of the two to three pages of a typed written note that really and clearly (describes) goes to his intent while the note does not (describe) go to motive. ‘I still have to get ready to see how much of the neighbourhood I can burn down, and like doing what I like best, killing people’.”

State congresswoman Louise Slaughter has called for federal laws to curb “out-of-control” gun violence.

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