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The Telegram
  • Police in Herkimer remain in standoff with man accused of killing 4, injuring 2

  • It started with a fire in Mohawk shortly before 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

    Then after an exchange of words with people inside nearby John's Barbershop, 64-year-old Kurt Myers opened fire with a shotgun, killing two and injuring two more, in a “totally unprovoked” attack, authorities said.

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  • It started with a fire in Mohawk shortly before 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.
    Then after an exchange of words with people inside nearby John's Barbershop, 64-year-old Kurt Myers opened fire with a shotgun, killing two and injuring two more, in a “totally unprovoked” attack, authorities said.
    Minutes later, two more people were shot dead at Gaffey's Fast Lube about a mile away in Herkimer.
    Police believe Myers then took refuge in an abandoned hotel above the former Glory Days bar at 248 N. Main St. just around the corner from the Herkimer village police station.
    It was there that Myers rained gunfire at about 1:30 p.m. on the armed officers swarmed below, before disappearing again as officers possibly returned fire, police said.
    And then, silence. As of late Wednesday night, floodlights remained focused on the brick building and the area remained blocked off to the public.
    A robot was sent into the building at one point, and later in the evening some police could be seen entering and exiting the building and helicopters were in the area.
    Repeated attempts to reach Myers on a cell phone went unanswered, police said.
    Schools and some businesses in the Mohawk Valley remained in lockdown throughout the day as police waited for Myers' next move. And bit by bit, troopers told the gawking onlookers to keep backing further and further away as they watched to see how it would all end.
    The rampage added Herkimer County to the list of communities nationwide turned upside down by mass shootings.
    As the community anxiously awaited answers to explain why this happened, no one could offer a motive.
    “It's just another example where I don't think anyone anywhere can say: 'It can't happen here,'” Herkimer and Mohawk police Chief Joseph Malone said. “It can happen anywhere.”
    It was a point echoed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who flew by helicopter to the area to make sure all the resources and manpower were available to bring the alleged killer to justice.
    “There is no community beyond the scope of senseless gun violence,” Cuomo said during a news conference at the New York State Police barracks on the outskirts of Herkimer.
    “The day is not done, and it will not be done until Mr. Myers is apprehended,” said the governor, who pushed for new state gun control legislation in the weeks after the Sandy Hook school massacre last year.
    Harry Montgomery Sr., 68, of Mohawk and Michael Ransear, 57, of Herkimer, were customers killed at the Mohawk barber shop at 17 West Main St., while the shop's owner, John Seymour, and customer Dan Haslauer were injured, police said.
    Hospital officials said Seymour was in fair condition Wednesday night, while state police said Haslauer's injuries were critical.
    Page 2 of 2 - Seymour's sister Mary Hornett has spoken with her brother about the shooting.
    "He just said that the guys were in the barbershop and this guy comes in and he says, 'Hi John, do you remember me?' and my brother said, 'Yes, Kurt, how are you?' and then he just started shooting," Hornett said.
    Hornett said her brother was doing well after being shot in the left hand and right hip.
    "My brother couldn't think of any reason why he would do such a thing," she said of Myers, a former customer who hadn't been in the shop for a couple of years.
    At Gaffey's lube shop and car wash at 320 Mohawk St. in Herkimer, one of the employees, Thomas Stefka, was killed, along with a customer, Michael Renshaw, who was a longtime state correction officer at the Midstate prison facility.
    Police still aren't sure whether the firearms removed from Myer's apartment building at 32 South Washington St. belonged to him or another tenant.
    Either way, many of the bystanders believe the shooter was trying to make a point that will seal his fate.
    “I hope they just finish this guy off and take him away in a bag, or he goes in front of a judge to face what he did and spend the rest of his life in prison,” said Don Heath Jr., whose daughter was among those students in lockdown at Mohawk High School.
    “What is going on today in the Mohawk Valley is very intense," he said.
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