Store employee in critical condition after shooting

The AT&T store on Commercial Drive in New York Mills

The AT&T store in New York Mills remains closed Friday, while the investigation continues into Thursday's shooting.

Now, we're learning more about the shooter and the fact the New York Mills Police Department had launched an inquiry about him.

Police say Abraham Dickan shot an employee in the abdomen before an off-duty police officer shot and killed him. Police say did not have a criminal record, but he was on the radar of the local police department.

New York Mills Police Chief Robert Swenszkowski says his department received a letter that the store sent to Dickan detailing a history of disturbing behavior.

"You have made racial slurs against 2 AT&T representatives, and have displayed a gun in this store while making threatening comments about 'getting rid of people,'" the letter says. It tells Dickan his wireless line has been cancelled and he is no longer allowed in any AT&T store.

The New York Mills Police Department looked into the letter, interviewing employees. Then, it took action that eventually led to Swenszkowski's pistol permit being revoked. The gun involved in the shooting was not the weapon for which he had the permit.

At that point, the police department says it was the only action the department could legally take.

" As a police officer, you always sit back and the first question you say is 'What else could I have done? Could I have done more? TM says Swenszkowski. "I asked myself and the officer who made the inquiries also asked himself, and we've really come to the conclusion that although we would have liked to, there wasn't really anything else we could have done."

Dickan's pistol permit was permanently revoked several days ago. Police say that was likely the act that sent him over the edge.

The man who Dickan shot, Seth Turk, remains in critical condition at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Utica.

New details are coming to light after Thursday's shooting of a cell phone store employee by a disgruntled elderly customer.

State Police say Abraham Dickan of Utica entered a New York Mills AT&T store Thursday afternoon with a hit list in his pocket and shot employee Seth Turk in the abdomen with an unlicensed .357 magnum. An off-duty Rome police officer, Donald Moore, then shot and killed Dickan.

Turk was rushed to St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica, where he was listed in critical condition Friday morning.

Friday, New York Mills Police Chief Robert Swenszkowski told CNY Central's Jessica Cain that the department had received no formal complaints about Dickan. However, Swenszkowski says his department was given a copy of the letter AT&T sent to Dickan, telling him why he was no longer allowed in their store. The letter accused Dickan of making racial slurs to two AT&T representatives and that he displayed a gun in the store while making threatening comments about getting rid of people. After receiving the letter, New York Mills police talked to store employees, but did not talk to Dickan.

The department also initiated action that led to Dickan's pistol permit being revoked. Swenszkowski says the gun used in the shooting was not the one Dickan was licensed for. That gun is in the possession of Utica Police. Swenszkowski believes Dickan's initial anger with store employees may have centered around the race or ethnicity of workers, but stopped short of calling it a hate crime. he believes loss of the pistol permit pushed him over the edge.

Following Thursday's shooting, law enforcement officials universally praised officer Moore's actions.

"Officer Moore was in the right place at the right time," said Trooper James Simpson. "There's a good chance there would have been a lot more carnage if not for his heroic action."

Angry that his permit was revoked, Dickan wrote in a letter that he was going to "even the score," listing six employees he intended to kill on Thursday, Simpson said. The letter was found in Dickan's pocket after he was shot.

AT&T corporate spokeswoman Alexa Kaufman issued a brief statement saying the company was cooperating with law enforcement and had no further comment. The store was closed for business on Friday.

Simpson said little is known about Dickan's background, but he apparently had no criminal history.

Moore, a member of the Rome Police Department for 2.5 years, received an award last year for helping save an 11-year-old girl from drowning. Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara tells CNY Central that Moore will not be charged with shooting Dickan because the shooting is justified.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off