There has been no shortage of manpower spent on the search effort and standoff, but as we said, police are taking no chances of getting anyone hurt. Our Iris St. Meran spoke with State Police about their plans moving forward and has more from the scene.
A standoff continues on Main Street in the Village of Herkimer. Police believe they have cornered a gunman suspected of shooting six people, killing four of them. Kurt Myers, 64, who is from Mohawk, is the suspect. Police believe he is still holed up inside an abandoned building. Andrew Sorensen has more.
- 9:29 a.m., Herkimer County 911 center received call of residential fire at 32 South Washington Street
- 9:33 a.m., 911 received multiple calls of shots fired at John’s Barber Shop, 17 Main Street, Village of Mohawk
- 9:38 a.m., 911 received shots fired call at Gaffey's Fast Lube , 320 Mohawk Street, Village of Herkimer
HERKIMER COUNTY, N.Y. -- State Police say they're taking no chances with the suspect in two deadly shootings in Herkimer. A standoff has been going on for hours after police were fired upon while searching a building on North Main Street in the village.
The manhunt for Kurt Myers, 64, began Wednesday morning after he allegedly set fire to his home on South Washington Street in Mohawk, then drove to John's Barber Shop on Main Street and shot four people, killing two of them and injuring two more. Myers was reportedly a former customer at the shop and asked the owner if he remembered him before opening fire.
Investigators say Myers then drove to Herkimer and shot and killed two customers at Gaffey's Fast Lube on Mohawk Street. His vehicle was located outside an abandoned building on North Main Street in Herkimer. That led to shots being fired at police, who proceeded to pull out of the building.
Photo of Harry Montgomery, sent to us by family members
Police believe Myers is still in that building but are asking people in the area to stay inside their homes.
Wednesday afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo traveled to the area and joined State Police for a news conference.
"These are the types of peaceful, quiet communities that one would say, 'well this could never happen here.' This is one of those things that just you couldn't imagine in Herkimer or Mohawk. And it's just another example that there is no community that is beyond the scope of senseless gun violence and unfortunately we see this more and more and more," the Governor said.
Harry Montgomery, 68, and Michael Ransear, 57, were killed in the barber shop. John Seymour and Dan Haslauer were also shot in the Barber Shop and were wounded.
Thomas Stefka and Michael Renshaw were killed at Gaffey's.
Gunfire sounds as crew prepares to go live
The standoff started with several rounds of gunfire, driving police back. Our Cara Thomas was actually getting ready to go live when the chaotic scene broke out.
That was around 1 p.m. Wednesday.
Our crews reported hearing two rounds of gunfire. They were quickly pushed back away from the scene as State Police secured the area.
During that time, no injuries were reported.
Community dealing with shooting
While the standoff situation is monitored by authorities, the community is trying to come to terms with Wednesday's events. Our Cara Thomas checked in with some residents to see how they are doing.
As the situation continues to be monitored by authorities, local residents say they recognize the alleged shooter, Kurt Myers, 64, as a quiet person. They say his demeanor is some of what makes this tragic event so shocking.
"He really didn't have much to say,” Candy Rowan said. “He was very quiet, stayed to himself and had one or two beers and would leave."
"I've seen him a couple times before in the coffee shop," said Kevin Dunn.
"What is he like?" we asked.
"He's quiet, you know, I never thought something like this would happen," Dunn replied.
Mohawk Red Cross opens shelter
With some residents displaced by the ongoing standoff, the Mohawk Red Cross has opened a shelter to give people a place to go.
The emergency shelter has been opened at Herkimer County Community College in the Recreation Gym. It will hold the roughly 50 people who are still unable to get back to their homes.
"We're not really sure how many we're going to get. Some people will stay with family members. But for those that don't have anywhere else to go, the American Red Cross is here to shelter them for as long as it takes," said Jennifer Balog.
The Red Cross is also offering those people food and there is crisis counseling available. You can also call their hotline at (315) 732-6228.
John’s Barber Shop: Four victims
- Harry M. Montgomery, age 68, from 3 South Washington in the Village of Mohawk was pronounced deceased at the scene.
- Michael G. Ransear, age 57, from 114 Melrose in the Village of Herkimer was pronounced deceased at the scene.
- John Seymour, owner of Barber Shop is listed in fair condition at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Utica.
- Dan Haslauer, customer at barber shop, is listed in critical condition from gu shot wounds at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Utica.
Gaffey’s Fast Lube: Two victims
- Thomas Stefka, employee at Gaffey’s.
- Michael L. Renshaw, a 20 year veteran of NYS Corrections.
The Superintendent of State Police and Governor Andrew Cuomo held a news conference this evening. Watch it in full:
Senator Seward expresses his condolences
State Senator James Seward spoke with our Innae Park by phone about the situation in Herkimer County. Hear what he has to say below.
Statement from NYSCOPBA President Donn Rowe:
“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.
Mike Renshaw was a Correction Officer at Mid-State Correctional Facility with 23 years on the job. Mike Ransear retired from Mohawk Correctional Facility after a career as a New York State Correction Officer.
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.
Today’s tragedies are a tremendous loss for everyone who knew these men and who served alongside them. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families, friends and fellow officers during this difficult time. NYSCOPBA stands ready to help those touched by this senseless act of violence in the coming days and weeks.”
Statement from Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney (R,C,I-New Hartford)
"Our community has been devastated today by a senseless tragedy. My prayers and thoughts are with the families of those who have lost a loved one today, and I pray that those injured may make a speedy recovery. I will be in contact with our local authorities and do what I can to keep an open line of communication between the families, the community and the police.
A Neighborhood Center's Mobile Crisis Team has been set-up at the Village of Mohawk Municipal Building on Columbia Street; this unit can be reached at 315-732-6228 for those in the community who may need help.
If anyone has helpful information that may aid the authorities, please call Herkimer County Sheriff Christopher Farber’s department at (315) 867-1167."
Statement from Assemblyman Marc W. Butler (R,C,I-Newport)
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this senseless tragedy and their families. This is a tight-knit community, and for many of us, the victims are our friends and neighbors and we are deeply saddened by today’s events.
“During this time of sorrow, we must comfort each other and remain strong for those whose families have been directly affected.
“I commend the courageous law-enforcement personnel and I watched firsthand while they responded admirably in the face of this horrific situation and hope that they will remain safe. I pray that the shooter surrenders and turns himself in to authorities.”
The Herkimer and Mohawk school districts are now in the process of dismissing their students with the exception of some Herkimer students who live in a cordoned off area surrounding the ongoing situation involving a shooting suspect in Herkimer.
Students who live in that area will be kept at Herkimer until arrangements can be made for them to go somewhere else or until the area is determined to be safe, Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES District Superintendent Mark Vivacqua said.
Some Herkimer and Mohawk students also remain at Herkimer BOCES, but they are in process of being dismissed.
The Herkimer BOCES component school districts of Dolgeville, Oppenheim-Ephratah, Frankfort-Schuyler, Owen D. Young, Richfield Springs, Mount Markham, Poland and West Canada Valley had regular dismissals today.
Ilion had a delayed and altered dismissal today. Little Falls released rural students on buses as normal, but required that children who live in the city and usually ride a bus or walk home be signed out by their parents instead.
The Herkimer BOCES Open House originally scheduled for 6 p.m. today has been postponed to a date to be determined.
(Information from Mark Vivacqua, District Superintendent)
-Herkimer County Community College classes are canceled for this evening. The campus lock down has been lifted. All residents of the Village of Herkimer have been instructed to stay on campus. All students who do not live in the Village of Herkimer have been allowed to leave campus.
"Bassett Healthcare Network facilities in the Mohawk Valley immediately went into heightened security following a series of shootings in Herkimer and Mohawk today and remain on alert until law enforcement apprehends the person suspected of committing these acts of violence. Bassett affiliated facilities in the Valley include the Herkimer Health Center, Little Falls Hospital, Bassett’s Little Falls Health Center on the hospital campus, and Valley Health Services, our skilled nursing facility in Herkimer.
Bassett’s Herkimer Health Center and Valley Health Services are in lockdown, which means all entrances and exits are locked and individuals questioned if asking to enter the building. Patients who choose to leave are advised of the situation and that if they leave, they do so at their own risk.
In situations like this, hospitals must continue to take care of patients and provide emergency services. Little Falls Hospital is on alert and monitoring all entrances/exits. Patients, staff and visitors inside the hospital are advised of the situation and that if they choose to leave, they do so at their own risk.
Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown has notified staff of the situation and heightened security and will remain on alert until law enforcement apprehends the shooting suspect."