Herkimer (WSYR-TV) – Police say they shot and killed a man on Thursday morning who was suspected in the deaths of four men in Herkimer County.
Police say they entered an abandoned building on Main Street in the village of Herkimer sheltering 64-year-old Kurt Myers around 8 a.m. on Thursday.
They say Myers shot and killed a police dog and officers returned fire, killing him.
During a Thursday morning press conference, police said they do not know what prompted Myers' shooting spree on Wednesday.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a release praising police shortly after reports surfaced that Myers was dead:
"This morning law enforcement officials entered the building and, after being fired upon, shot and killed the suspect, Kurt Myers. There were no injuries to law enforcement officials, though an FBI police dog was fatally shot. We commend the courage and extraordinary efforts of the state police, the FBI, and local law enforcement officials in finding the suspect and ending this horrific spree of violence and bloodshed. It is now time for mourning those who we lost in this senseless act of violence."
The Governor traveled to the small village on Wednesday amidst the manhunt for Myers.
On Wednesday shortly before 9:30 a.m., police believe Myers set a building on fire at 32 South Washington Street in the village of Mohawk.
Police say he then went to John’s Barber Shop at 17 Main Street, where he shot and killed two people and injured two others. They believe he used a shotgun.
About five minutes later, police say he shot and killed two people at an automotive shop called Gaffey’s at 320 Mohawk Street in the village of Herkimer.
From the oil change shop, Myers fled to an abandoned building where he would end up engaging in an overnight standoff with police after a brief exchange of gunfire.
Overnight, police tried to use sirens and other loud sounds, along with gas. Police said he was hiding in a small room on the first floor of the building. They say it is possible that he was able to shield himself against the gas.
Finally, police determined it was time to enter the building Thursday morning. Police say the suspect shot at officers as they entered the building, killing the K-9, before he was shot down.
"As unfortunate as it is that the K-9 lost his life, it could have easily been an officer," said State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico at a morning press conference held in the Herkimer Court House.
Police say they are treating each location as an active crime scene.
State Police identified the following victims from the shooting at John’s Barber Shop:
- Harry M. Montgomery, 68, of Mohawk was pronounced dead at the scene.
- Michael G. Rancear, 57, of Herkimer was pronounced dead at the scene.
- John Seymour, owner of the barber shop is listed in fair condition at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Utica.
- Dan Haslauer, a customer, is listed in critical condition at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital
- Thomas Stefka, an employee, was killed.
- Michael L. Renshaw, a NYS Corrections employee, was also killed.
Several schools in the area were placed on lockdown as the events unfolded on Wednesday including Herkimer County Community College, Herkimer Central School District schools, Mohawk Central School District schools, and Herkimer BOCES.
Myers' only prior brush with the law was a driving while under the influence charge from the 1970s.
“From what we know, Mr. Myers only has one arrest. It was back in 1973 and it was a driving under the influence of alcohol in the Town of Webb,” said State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico on Wednesday.
Police described Myers as a "loner," a designation reinforced by the residents who who encountered him.
Kurt Myers is a familiar face at the local bar where Michelle Mlinar works. “He would come at night on the weekends. From what he told me, he liked to listen to music. We have karaoke and bands or what-not...and he would travel around and go to different places,” Mlinar told NewsChannel 9.
"I've seen him in the Village of Mohawk. Like I said, I live few blocks from him. Not a very sociable man. He seems kind of...keeps to himself,” said Bob Sportello, who lives near the scene.
“He was very quiet. Alone. Never came with anybody. He never talked to anybody. He just sat, would have a couple of drinks and leave,” Mlinar continued.