Institutions in Otsego County were on alert Wednesday after four people were shot dead and two wounded in Mohawk and Herkimer, a little more than 10 miles from Richfield Springs.
Schools there were locked down about 10:45 a.m.
The suspect in the shootings, Kurt Myers, 64, of Mohawk, was thought to be holed up in an abandoned Main Street building in Herkimer on Wednesday evening, surrounded by SWAT teams, state police said.
State police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico said officers were fired on from the building Wednesday afternoon while looking for Myers. 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 Myers’ rampage started with a fire in his apartment in Mohawk at about 9:30 a.m. D’Amico said Myers then drove to John’s Barber Shop around the corner and used a shotgun shot to kill two customers, whom he identified as Harry Montgomery, 68, and Michael Rancier, 57.
The shop’s owner, John Seymour, and another customer, Dan Haslauer, were listed in critical condition at a Utica hospital.
D’Amico said the gunman then drove to Gaffy’s Fast Lube in nearby Herkimer and used the shotgun to kill Thomas Stefka, an employee, and Michael Renshaw, a customer who was a 20-year veteran of the state Department of Corrections.
Otsego County Undersheriff Cameron S. Allison said Wednesday afternoon that deputies were continuing their normal patrols.
“We’re business as usual, out on patrol, waiting word if anybody needs anything,” he said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a press conference in Herkimer, called it “truly an inexplicable situation.”
“There’s no apparent motive to the best of our knowledge at this time to provoke these attacks,” he said.