|
|
|
The Telegram
  • Confusion, shock for Mohawk, Herkimer residents

  • What started as a reported explosion turned into a tragedy and left residents in two villages asking why. At 9:29 a.m. on Wednesday, the Mohawk Fire Department responded to a structure fire at 32 S. Washington St., just 50 yards from the fire station. In the next five minutes, police say Kurt Myers, 64,...
    • email print
  • What started as a reported explosion turned into a tragedy and left residents in two villages asking why.
    At 9:29 a.m. on Wednesday, the Mohawk Fire Department responded to a structure fire at 32 S. Washington St., just 50 yards from the fire station.
    In the next five minutes, police say Kurt Myers, 64, killed four people and wounded two others in Mohawk and Herkimer before holing up in a North Main Street building in Herkimer.
    Many businesses on North Main Street — along with schools and businesses in the surrounding area — were on lockdown Wednesday as police swarmed the streets searching for Myers.
    “There are just police all over the place,” Weisser’s Jewelers owner Fred Weisser said.
    Weisser said police were looking through his camera footage. Officials believed Myers was inside a nearby building.
    In Mohawk, the commotion startled Fred Randall, a U.S. military veteran, who lived next door to Myers.
    “I was on the phone when my dogs started barking,” he said. “I went outside and there was smoke coming out of the house and the fire department was there.”
    Randall was stunned by the news of the shootings as he watched the fire crews on his street. He did not hear any explosion, even though initial reports suggested there was one, Randall said.
    “This is crazy,” he said. “This is Mohawk, N.Y.”
    Across the street from John’s Barbershop, weere four people were shot, no one in the Village Market heard the blasts that rocked West Main Street.
    “I went next door to do a fax and someone called to see if I had heard the shots,” said Linda Lamanna, an employee at the market. “Next thing I know there’s the police are outside.”
    Lamanna and her co-worker Kathy Welch said they didn’t know Myers.
    It was the same story a mile down the road where police say Myers killed two more people in the village of Herkimer at Gaffey’s Fast Lube.
    Lesley Paul, director of Frank J. Basloe Public Library, said Myers drove right through the library’s parking lot.
    She said the vehicle came into the parking lot from North Prospect Street and drove around the lot erratically and then through the park area in front of the entrance. The vehicle stopped and then proceeded to cross North Main Street and drove into the alley between the buildings, where it was abandoned.
    “There was a man sitting on one of the park benches right in front of the library,” Paul said. “Then we were seeing more and more armed officers coming with guns drawn and we were told to go on lockdown.”
    People in some nearby apartments were told to evacuate, she said, and came into the library to seek shelter, but a little while later she was told to evacuate the library.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Who goes on a shooting spree in this area,” Paul said. “I think that’s what people around here are all asking.”
    Dan Williams, who was watching the scene from the corner of North Main and Green streets, said he lives near Gaffey’s and woke up to phone calls from people checking to make sure he was safe. When he looked outside, he said, the block around Stewart’s was roped off.
    “I stayed inside for awhile,” he said. “There are a lot of alleyways around there.”
    Debbie Zilka, a dentist, didn’t hear the gunshots but her assistant did shortly after opening the office.
    Zilka said her assistant thought it might be a car accident, not shotgun blasts from inside Gaffey’s at 320 Main St.
    “I didn’t know what the heck was going on,” Zilka said.

        calendar