A man suspected of killing four in a rampage in Herkimer and Mohawk
was killed in a police shootout Thursday morning, ending a standoff that lasted more than 18 hours.
64-year-old Kurt R. Myers, of Mohawk, had been holed up in an abandoned building on North Main Street in Herkimer after a rampage that left four dead and two injured.
Officials speaking at a news conference on Thursday say police entered the building around 8:00 a.m. They say Myers immediately opened fire on the officers from the doorway of a small room, killing an FBI K-9 search dog. Police returned fire, fatally shooting Myers. It all took place on the first floor and unfolded in a matter of minutes.
(Watch surveillance video from a nearby jewelry store)
State Police Superintendent Joseph Dâ??Amico says Myers had been hiding in a small room on the first floor, but they do not know where he slept overnight. Police deployed gas during the standoff, but Myers may have been able to shield himself from the gas. Officials say a robotic camera was unable to maneuver around debris inside the abandoned hotel.
Dâ??Amico says Myers made no attempts to escape or engage law enforcement during the night, but he was ready when they entered. Officials say they believe Myers only had a shotgun with him in the building, but may have had extra ammunition.
Officials said on Wednesday that a number of guns and ammunition were found inside Myers' apartment on Wednesday. Police now say they do not believe the weapons belonged to Myers, but they may have been from a neighboring apartment. They say that owners of shotguns and long guns do not need to be registered.
"We don't know the reasons for his [Myers'] actions, and we would hope that somewhere during the course of the investigation we learn something more about him or what motivated him
," says D'Amico.
Myers was a loner, officials say, and didnâ??t have much contact with his family. No one they spoke with could offer any explanation or motive. Dâ??Amico says the shootings were "likely unprovoked and random."
"As a local resident of Herkimer County for my entire life - We've never seen a tragedy like this that I can remember," said Herkimer County District Attorney Jeff Carpenter.
The tactical team was comprised of members of the FBI and New York State Police, but Dâ??Amico would not give details about the team.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo says there were no injuries to law enforcement officials, but one FBI police dog, a German Shepherd, was fatally shot.
"We commend the courage and extraordinary efforts of the state police, the FBI, and local law enforcement officials in finding the suspect and ending this horrific spree of violence and bloodshed," said Cuomo
in a statement
. "It is now time for mourning those who we lost in this senseless act of violence... The thoughts and prayers of my family and of all New Yorkers are with the friends and loved ones of the victims."
Officials Myers' rampage began Wednesday morning around 9:30 a.m. He allegedly started a fire in his apartment in Mohawk then drove to John's Barber Shop in Mohawk where he shot four people, killing two and injuring two. Myers then drove about a mile to Gaffey's Fast Lube in the Village of Herkimer where he fatally shot two people. Police have
identified all of the victims
Police kept vigilant watch at the abandon building where Myers was hiding overnight, periodically blaring sirens in an apparent attempt to encourage Myers to surrender. State police say they had no contact with him for 15 hours before entering the building.
Residents say they barely knew Myers, who rarely spoke.
A woman who says she knew Myers told CNY Central that Myers was known as a loner. Says she had concerns about him. She says he has been coming into a local bar for the past ten years, always alone.
Myers has one prior arrest on his criminal record for DWAI in the town of Webb in 1973.
The Red Cross opened a shelter Thursday night for 14 residents who were evacuated from their homes near the standoff. The Red Cross says the shelter will remain open as long as needed for residents until they can return safely to their homes.
About 100 people attended an interfaith service at Mohawk Reform Church tonight, praying for the victims of Wednesday's shooting rampage in Herkimer County.
Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke at a new conference in Herkimer on Wednesday evening. He said there is "no apparent rational motive" for the shootings.