HERKIMER, N.Y. (AP) — Police in upstate New York stormed an abandoned building Thursday morning where a man suspected of a deadly shooting rampage at a car wash and barbershop had been holed up, killing him after he fired on an FBI dog.
SWAT teams entered the building around 8 a.m., and sent the dog in first, Trooper Jack Keller said. The 64-year-old suspect, Kurt Myers, had been inside since Wednesday afternoon.
“He was waiting for us,” Keller said. “He kills the dog. They hear shots fired. Our teams returned fire and the suspect gets shot.”
No officers were injured in the basement shootout, he said.
Police say Myers sauntered into a barbershop Wednesday, coolly asked if the man cutting hair remembered him and then opened fire with a shotgun, the first shots in a burst of violence that would leave four dead, two critically wounded and people in this small village aching to find out what set the gunman off.
John Seymour, one of the men wounded in the attacks told his sister, Mary Hornett, the barbershop attack came out of nowhere.
“He just said that the guys were in the barbershop and this guy comes in and he says, ‘Hi John, do you remember me?’ and my brother said, ‘Yes, Kurt, how are you?’ and then he just started shooting,” Hornett said.
Hornett said her brother, who was hospitalized in critical condition, was doing well after being shot in the left hand and right hip.
“My brother couldn’t think of any reason why he would do such a thing,” she said of Myers, a former customer who hadn’t been in the shop for a couple of years.
The shootings shattered the peace and rattled the nerves of Mohawk and Herkimer, two small villages about 170 miles northwest of New York City, separated from each other by the Mohawk River and the New York State Thruway.
Police said Myers’ rampage started with a fire in his apartment in the nearby village of Mohawk at about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. He then drove to John’s Barber Shop around the corner and used a shotgun to kill two customers, D’Amico said, identifying them as Harry Montgomery, 68, and Michael Ransear, 57, a retired corrections officer. In addition to Seymour, the shop’s owner, another customer, Dan Haslauer, also was listed in critical condition at a Utica hospital.
The gunman then drove to Gaffy’s Fast Lube in nearby Herkimer and used the shotgun to kill Michael Renshaw and Thomas Stefka. Renshaw was a 23-year employee of the state corrections department who worked at Mid-State Correctional Facility near Utica. Stefka worked at Gaffey’s and attended Mohawk Reform Church, where he played guitar during services.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a press conference in Herkimer, called it “truly an inexplicable situation.”