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Cops kill suspect in deadly upstate NY shooting rampage

Abandoned building stormed for man suspected of killing 4

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    Law enforcement officers run for cover along Main Street in Herkimer, N.Y., when shots were fired while they were searching for a suspect in two shootings that killed four and injured at least two on, Wednesday, March 13, 2013.

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    A man watches from the window of a barber shop as officials search down the street for a suspect in two shootings that killed four and injured at least two on, Wednesday, March 13, 2013 in Herkimer, N.Y. A man neighbors said rarely spoke to them started a fire in his apartment on Wednesday, shot four people dead at a couple of businesses in his hometown and a neighboring village and then exchanged gunfire with police officers who surrounded an abandoned building where he apparently was holed up, authorities said. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

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    A law enforcement officer stands on Main Street in Herkimer, N.Y., during the search for a suspect in two shootings that killed four and injured at least two on, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Authorities were looking for 64-year-old Kurt Meyers, said Herkimer Police Chief Joseph Malone. Officials say guns and ammunition were found inside his Mohawk apartment after emergency crews were sent to a fire there Wednesday morning. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

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    Emergency crews work at the scene of a shooting at Gaffey's car wash in the village of Herkimer, N.Y. after shootings at two different businesses left four people dead and at least two wounded, according to police, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Police said two unidentified people were shot and killed at the car wash and two others were killed in a barber shop in the village of Mohawk, east of Syracuse. (AP Photo/Observer-Dispatch, Rocco Laduca)

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    Law enforcement officers stand in an alley near Main Street while searching for a suspect in two shootings that killed four and injured at least two on Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Authorities were looking for Kurt Meyers, said Joseph Malone, the police chief for Herkimer and Mohawk. Officials say guns and ammunition were found inside his Mohawk apartment after emergency crews were sent to a fire there Wednesday morning. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

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    Law enforcement officers take cover along Main Street when shots were fired while they were searching for a suspect in two shootings that killed four and injured at least two on, Wednesday, March 13, 2013, in Herkimer, N.Y. Authorities were looking for 64-year-old Kurt Meyers, said Herkimer Police Chief Joseph Malone. Officials say guns and ammunition were found inside his Mohawk apartment after emergency crews were sent to a fire there Wednesday morning. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

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    This undated photo provided by the New York State Police shows Kurt R. Meyers, the man being sought in connection with the shooting of six people in two incidents in upstate New York, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Authorities said guns and ammunition were found inside Meyers' Mohawk, N.Y., apartment after emergency crews were sent to put out a fire there Wednesday morning. Soon after, two people were fatally shot and two others wounded at John's Barber Shop, around the corner from the apartment, police said. The second shooting happened about a mile away in Herkimer, where two people were killed at Gaffey's Fast Lube and Car Wash. (AP Photo/New York State Police)

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    Law enforcement officers walk along Main Street in Herkimer, N.Y., while searching for a suspect in two shootings that killed four and injured at least two on, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Authorities were looking for Kurt Meyers, said Joseph Malone, the police chief for Herkimer and Mohawk. Officials say guns and ammunition were found inside his Mohawk apartment after emergency crews were sent to a fire there Wednesday morning. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

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    Law enforcement officers take cover along Main Street when shots were fired while searching for a suspect in two shootings that killed four and injured at least two on Wednesday, March 13, 2013, in Herkimer, N.Y. Authorities were looking for 64-year-old Kurt Meyers, said Herkimer Police Chief Joseph Malone. Officials say guns and ammunition were found inside his Mohawk apartment after emergency crews were sent to a fire there Wednesday morning. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

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    Firefighters battle a structure fire at an apartment building at 32 S. Washington St. in the village of Mohawk, N.Y., in connection with two shootings, Wednesday, March 13, 2013, at two different businesses that left four people dead and at least two wounded, according to police. State police told Mohawk Valley local media outlets a man shot and killed two unidentified people Wednesday morning at Gaffey’s Fast Lube in the village of Herkimer. Two others were killed at John’s Barber Shop, a mile away in the village of Mohawk. They said a total of six people had been shot. (AP Photo/Observer-Dispatch, Steve Hughes)

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    People stand outside the Empire Diner near the police line as officials search for a suspect in two shootings that killed four and injured at least two on, Wednesday, March 13, 2013, in Herkimer, N.Y. A man neighbors said rarely spoke to them started a fire in his apartment on Wednesday, shot four people dead at a couple of businesses in his hometown and a neighboring village and then exchanged gunfire with police officers who surrounded an abandoned building where he apparently was holed up, authorities said. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

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    Law enforcement officers walk along Main Street while searching for a suspect in two shootings Wednesday, March 13, 2013, in Herkimer, N.Y. Two people were shot and killed Wednesday morning at a car wash in the village of Herkimer and two others were killed in a barber shop in the village of Mohawk, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

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    Police floodlights shine on the abandoned building on Main St. in Herkimer, N.Y. early Thursday morning March 14, 2013. Police kept vigilant watch there into Thursday morning, periodically blaring sirens in an apparent attempt to encourage Kurt Myers, the man suspected of gunning down four people then holing up in an abandoned building, to surrender, if alive. Booms also were heard. (AP Photo/Michael Hill

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    Law enforcement officers block off Main Street in Herkimer, N.Y., while searching for a suspect in two shootings that killed four and injured at least two on, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Authorities were looking for 64-year-old Kurt Meyers, said Herkimer Police Chief Joseph Malone. Officials say guns and ammunition were found inside his Mohawk apartment after emergency crews were sent to a fire there Wednesday morning. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

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    A police officer crosses Main Street as officials search for a suspect in two shootings that killed four and injured at least two on, Wednesday, March 13, 2013, in Herkimer, N.Y. A man neighbors said rarely spoke to them started a fire in his apartment on Wednesday, shot four people dead at a couple of businesses in his hometown and a neighboring village and then exchanged gunfire with police officers who surrounded an abandoned building where he apparently was holed up, authorities said. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

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    This undated photo provided by the New York State Police shows 64-year-old Kurt R. Meyers, the man sought in connection with the shooting of six people in two incidents in upstate New York, Wednesday, March 13, 2013.

    <AP

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    Chief Joseph Malone of the Herkimer Police Department briefs the media on the search for a suspect in two shootings that killed four and injured at least two on Wednesday, March 13, 2013, in Herkimer, N.Y. Authorities were looking for 64-year-old Kurt Meyers, said Malone. Officials say guns and ammunition were found inside his Mohawk apartment after emergency crews were sent to a fire there Wednesday morning. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

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This undated photo provided by the New York State Police shows 64-year-old Kurt R. Meyers, the man sought in connection with the shooting of six people in two incidents in upstate New York, Wednesday, March 13, 2013.

AP Enlarge

HERKIMER, N.Y. — Police in upstate New York stormed an abandoned building this morning where a man suspected of a deadly shooting rampage at a car wash and barbershop had been holed up for hours, killing the man after he fired on a police dog.

Kurt Myers, 64, was killed by police who had surrounded a block of small businesses in the village of Herkimer since Wednesday afternoon.

SWAT teams went into the building around 8 a.m., trooper Jack Keller said. The shootout occurred in the basement.

Keller said police sent in the dog first and Myers shot and killed it.

“He was waiting for us,” Keller said. “He kills the dog. They hear shots fired. Our teams returned fire and the suspect gets shot.”

No officers were injured, he said.

Police say Myers sauntered into a barbershop Wednesday, coolly asked if the man cutting hair remembered him and then opened fire with a shotgun, the first shots in a burst of violence that would leave four dead, two critically wounded and people in this small village aching to find out what set the gunman off.

John Seymour, one of the men wounded in the attacks told his sister, Mary Hornett, the barbershop attack came out of nowhere.

“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, who was hospitalized in critical condition, 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.

The shootings shattered the peace and rattled the nerves of Mohawk and Herkimer, two small villages about 170 miles northwest of New York City, separated from each other by the Mohawk River and the New York State Thruway.

Police said Myers’ rampage started with a fire in his apartment in the nearby village of Mohawk at about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. He then drove to John's Barber Shop around the corner and used a shotgun to kill two customers, D'Amico said, identifying them as Harry Montgomery, 68, and Michael Ransear, 57, a retired corrections officer. In addition to Seymour, the shop's owner, another customer, Dan Haslauer, also was listed in critical condition at a Utica hospital.

The gunman then drove to Gaffy's Fast Lube in nearby Herkimer and used the shotgun to kill Michael Renshaw and Thomas Stefka. Renshaw was a 23-year employee of the state corrections department who worked at Mid-State Correctional Facility near Utica. Stefka worked at Gaffey's and attended Mohawk Reform Church, where he played guitar during services.

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Law enforcement officers run for cover along Main Street in Herkimer, N.Y., when shots were fired while they were searching for a suspect in two shootings that killed four and injured at least two on, Wednesday, March 13, 2013.

ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a press conference in Herkimer, called it “truly an inexplicable situation.”

Neighbors said they barely knew Myers, who rarely spoke, left every morning in his red Jeep and came back.

Traci Randall said the only time she remembers speaking to her next-door neighbor was when he yelled at her son because he thought he had shot an air pellet at his Jeep.

“He would walk by himself. He was kind of a loner. No wife,” she said.

Neighbors said he never had visitors or friends. Gary Urich said Myers wouldn't even say much as ‘Hi’ to him when walking by his porch.

“I said, ‘How are you doing?’ No response. He just walked by,” he said.

Michele Mlinar, a bartender at Cangee's Bar and Grille in Herkimer, said Myers frequently went in and had a bottle or two of Coors Light and left without speaking to anyone. She said he was always alone and she didn't even know his name until police released his mug shot on Wednesday.

Cangee's owner Candy Rellin called Myers “just an odd little man.”

The two villages are about 65 miles east of Syracuse on opposite sides of the Mohawk River — which connects the Erie Canal to the Hudson River and from there, the sea — in a region known as the Mohawk Valley.

Elizabeth Cirelli was shocked by Stefka's slaying. He was a neighbor in Herkimer.

“He was a great guy, a really nice person. This is horrific. We really couldn't believe it,” she said.

Herkimer County Community College lifted a lockdown during the afternoon, and schools near the scene released students. D'Amico said most of the three-block neighborhood around the search scene was evacuated.

Herkimer is a village of 7,700 named for the German immigrant family that settled in the western Mohawk Valley in the 1720s. The economically distressed villages are 2 miles away from Ilion, where a 2-century-old Remington Arms gun plant is a major employer.

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