Police shoot, kill upstate gunman

Cuomo gunman
Cuomo meets with police during the search for the gunman. (Credit: Reuters)

Authorities on Thursday killed a man suspected of shooting dead four people a day earlier in separate incidents at a barbershop and a car wash in neighboring upstate New York towns, Gov.Andrew Cuomo said.

The suspected gunman, identified as Kurt Myers, 64, was killed in a shootout with law enforcement officials at an abandoned building in Herkimer, New York, where he had barricaded himself the previous day.

“This morning law enforcement officials entered the building and, after being fired upon, shot and killed the suspect, Kurt Myers,” Cuomo said in a statement. “There were no injuries to law enforcement officials, though an FBI police dog was fatally shot.”

Four people were killed and two others critically injured in the shootings on Wednesday in the sleepy New York villages of Herkimer and Mohawk, which face one another across the Mohawk River.

The violence began on Wednesday, when Myers drove to John’s Barber Shop in Mohawk at about 9:30 a.m. EDT on Wednesday and, after a brief exchange of words, opened fire with a shotgun, according to police.

Two customers were killed, and the owner and another customer were critically wounded, New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico said.

“Totally unprovoked, we believe he fired a number of rounds from the shotgun,” he said on Wednesday.

The shooter then drove to Gaffey’s Fast Lube in the neighboring Herkimer, and fired again, D’Amico said, striking and killing two people.

State police in military garb and using an armored vehicle surrounded an abandoned building in the downtown section of Herkimer, a town of 7,700 people, on Wednesday afternoon. Shots were fired from inside the building and police returned fire.

Myers’ arrest record includes a drunken driving charge in 1973, police said.

The killings took place shortly after a fire was reported at the Mohawk apartment house where Myers lived, said Mohawk Mayor James Baron.

A search of the apartment turned up a cache of guns and ammunition, according to officials.

In January Cuomo signed into law one of the country’s toughest gun control measures, the first enacted in the wake of the mass shooting in December that killed 20 students and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

The law expands the state’s ban on assault weapons, puts limits on ammunition capacity and has new measures to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. It also mandates a life sentence without parole for anyone who murders a first responder.

Those killed in the car wash shooting were identified as Thomas Stefka, an employee at Gaffey’s, and Michael Renshaw, a 20-year employee of the New York State Corrections Department, state police said.

The barbershop victims were Harry Montgomery, 68, of Mohawk, and Michael Rancier, 57, of Herkimer. The shop owner, John Seymour, and a customer, Dan Haslauer, were rushed to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Utica in critical condition, state police said.

The two towns are located about midway between Albany, the state capital, and Syracuse.


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