Four people have been shot dead after a gunman in Upstate New York went on a shooting spree Wednesday morning. Police remained in a standoff with the suspect into the evening.
Police believe 64-year-old Kurt Myers of Mohawk, NY opened fire Wednesday near a car wash in Herkimer County, New York, halfway between Syracuse and Albany. Two people were shot dead on the scene, and two others were fatally wounded nearby at a local barbershop, State Police press liaison Jack Keller told the Little Falls Times.
Authorities say six people were shot in all, with four succumbing to their wounds as of 11:18 a.m. Wednesday morning. Police were still searching for their suspect into the afternoon, but the latest reports courtesy of a local newspaper suggest the authorities may have narrowed in on a possible culprit.
Harry Montgomery, 68, and Michael Rancier, 57, were killed at the barbershop, police said, while Thomas Stefka, who was described as “in his 60s” by local press, and Michael Renshaw, who was “in his 40s,” were killed at the car wash.
Local officials warn that Myers should be considered “armed and extremely dangerous,” though he is not suspected to have taken any hostages.
As officials were preparing for a press conference at around 1:30 Wednesday afternoon, eight shots were reportedly fired in the area where police had been searching for Myers earlier in the day. Police are now investigating that incident as well.
The Utica Observer-Dispatch reports that SWAT teams and a police helicopter had surrounded a jewelry store in downtown Herkimer, NY, but could not confirm whether Myers was inside. The paper added that Mohawk officials believed at that time that the suspect may have been on foot, with other reports citing the possibility that he had been picked up by a taxi.
Ilion, NY resident Jason Ackler, 39, tells the Utica OD that he thinks the suspect is “trying to prove a point.” Ackler’s friend was among the six shot Wednesday morning, and his condition is unknown. He says, however, that he thinks the suspect began the shooting spree with clear intention as to what he wanted to accomplish.
“It definitely seems like he knew what he was doing,” adds Ackler.
Speaking to the Associated Press, the Herkimer Village Police would only say that there was a shooting and a manhunt, and would not offer any further official comment. Area schools including Herkimer County Community College were placed on lockdown following the incident.
Police also believe the suspect may have been responsible for an apartment building fire that was reported to authorities in Mohawk, NY at around 9:45 a.m. The Utica Observer-Dispatch reports that the fire was extinguished by around 11 a.m., and law enforcement authorities were able to remove “about half a dozen long guns” from the residence. The Utica OD says preliminary reports suggest the suspect responsible for the four deaths resided in that unit.
The suspect has been described in early reports as a 50- to 60-year-old white male last seen wearing a flannel shirt.