LocalSYR

Who were the four men killed in the Herkimer County shootings

Four people were killed and two others were wounded after police say a lone gunman opened fire at a local barbershop and an oil change shop in Herkimer County on Wednesday.
Barbershop owner John Seymour
Barbershop owner John Seymour
Michael Renshaw
Michael Renshaw
Harry Montgomery
Harry Montgomery
Herkimer (WSYR-TV) -- Four people were killed and two others were wounded after police say a lone gunman opened fire at a local barbershop and an oil change shop in Herkimer County on Wednesday.

The pain caused by 64-year-old Kurt Myers is immeasurable. Four families are left dealing with the inexplicable loss of their loved ones.

The victims include 68-year-old Harry Montgomery who was killed when Myers allegedly opened fire inside the barbershop in the Village of Mohawk. 57-year-old Michael Rancear also died there. Rencear was a retired corrections officer.

Less than a mile away, another attack at an oil change shop. In that shooting, Thomas Stefka, an employee at Gaffey’s was shot to death. 51-year-old Michael Renshaw, a 23-year veteran of the New York State Corrections Department was also killed.

A moment of silence was held Thursday at Mid-State Correctional Facility as brothers and sisters of law enforcement remembered the life of Renshaw.

“We depend on each other inside the fence and sometimes outside the fence. When something like this happens and we lose one of our own the feelings run high, it’s somebody you’re going to miss, that you’ve been working with day in and day out,” said Brandon Smith, Superintendent Mid-State Correctional Facility.

Renshaw was just two years away from retirement.

“It’s like a hard hit to the stomach, really, to know that somebody you worked with for 20 years wanted to have a carwash or needed a haircut and now they’re no longer with us,” said John Gavin, Vice President, NYSCOPBA.

Gavin started on the force with Renshaw more than 20 years ago and says his death will have a devastating impact on the community for years to come.

“Mike was a real well-known, well-respected and well-liked person…everyone spoke highly of him,” continued Smith.

New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association (NYSCOPBA) President Donn Rowe said in a written statement to NewsChannel 9:

“All of us at the New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association are deeply saddened to learn of the senseless and tragic deaths of Michael Renshaw and Michael Ransear…These men spent their lives in service to their communities and their state, and there are no words to express our profound grief over their untimely passing…Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families, friends and fellow officers during this difficult time.”

Shannon Marlowe, a friend of victim Thomas Stefka said, "You just couldn't ask for a better person and it's hard to understand how something like this could happen to such a nice guy."

In Mohawk, John Seymour, the owner of John's Barber Shop was shot, but survived. He is being treated at St. Elizabeth's Medical Center and reports say he is in fair condition.

"I'm very relived that he did get thru the surgery okay and I'm very relieved for his mother, being 100 years old, she still has the one person that takes good care of her," said John's friend Renee Pierce.

Those who know him say John is like a father figure to the whole community.

"Being known throughout the valley, he's just really personable with everybody that you just feel like he's almost part of your family, so it was very upsetting. He's a great person, do anything for anybody," Pierce continued.

Shooting victim Dan Haslauer, a customer of the barbershop, remains in critical condition at the hospital.

Myers’ final victim was an FBI K-9. “Ape” was killed Thursday morning upon entering the building and approaching Myers, who was later, shot and killed by officers. Ape began duty with the FBI just last month.

The FBI released a statement Thursday, saying “Ape was doing what he was trained to do and made the ultimate sacrifice for his team.”

Police believe the shootings were a random attack.

A candlelight vigil to honor victims of the Herkimer County shootings will take place Thursday night from 7 to 9 p.m. at Weller Park. The event is a "grassroots effort" spreading on Facebook, said Mohawk resident Barbara Brewer-Bellstedt.
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