HERKIMER, New York (AP) - A man suspected of shooting to death four people and wounding two others was believed to be in an abandoned building surrounded by police Wednesday evening, police said.
Police officers were fired on from the building while looking for 64-year-old Kurt Myers, state police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico said. D'Amico said at least one officer returned fire, but Myers' status was uncertain.
"We're in no rush to bring this to a conclusion," D'Amico said, adding that the main objective was to make sure no one else was hurt.
Police said the rampage started with a fire in Myers' apartment in the village of Mohawk on Wednesday morning. D'Amico said the gunman drove to a barber shop around the corner and used a shotgun shot to kill two customers, whom he identified as Harry Montgomery, 68, and Michael Ransear, 57. The shop's owner, John Seymour, and another customer, Dan Haslauer, were listed in critical condition at a regional hospital.
D'Amico said the gunman then drove to a mechanic's shop in nearby Herkimer and used the shotgun to kill Thomas Stefka, an employee, and Michael Renshaw, a customer.
"Everybody's on lockdown, all the schools, the college, the village," said Amanda Viscomi, Herkimer's acting clerk-treasurer. "It's very, very scary." D'Amico said police had had no communication with Myers, whose only known police record was a 1973 drunken driving arrest.
Police were positioned in front of a block of small businesses topped with apartments Wednesday evening. A local businessman, Fred Weisser, said police were trying to get people out.
"They're sending in a robot to check the place out," Weisser said by telephone. "I guess we're stuck. We're between him and the cops. I don't want to step out and get clipped by a sniper." Myles Smith, who lives in an apartment above the shops, said by phone he had heard police trying to talk to Myers.