Continuing Coverage Of The Herkimer Shooting Incident: New Videos And Interviews After Kurt Myers Was Shot Dead By Police [UPDATES + EXCLUSIVE VIDEO]
**NOTE** This story is being constantly updated. (The last update was 19 March 2013.) Please see below for the latest information.
Herkimer, Mohawk, and Utica schools are on modified lockdown at this hour.
The move is said to be precautionary following a reported shooting on Mohawk Street.
Herkimer’s Interim School Superintendent Theodore “Ted” Kawryga says the children are unaware that there is a situation and that the day is going along normally for them. The administration is monitoring visitors and doors to the school vigilantly.
1120am The fire located at a home on 32 South Washington Street in Mohawk is now under control. One of the residents of that home is said to be under investigation. WIBX will not release his name until we have confirmation that he is indeed a suspect.
We cannot definitively confirm reports of deaths at this time. As many as six people may have been shot. Reports of up to as many as four have been killed. Again, we are awaiting confirmation from authorities.
WIBX’s Bill Keeler reports from the scene:
11:50 Police are going door to door in the surrounding neighborhoods of the fire as they question residents.
12:05 A sniper has been positioned on top of the Evening Telegram Building.
Keeler is calling it an “Urban Warfare Scene.”
12:25: The Utica City School District is now in lockdown as well.
12:35 Herkimer Police are confirming that Kurt R. Myers, who lives in apartment three at 32 South Washington Street in Mohawk, has been identified as a suspect and is being pursued by police. Shootings took place at both Gaffey’s in Herkimer and John’s Barber Shop in Mohawk.
12:40 A Herkimer Police spokesman says the suspect is still at large and will not confirm reports of injury at this time.
12:53 At least six military-geared officers are walking in, following an armored vehicle. They are carrying automatic weapons. There are state troopers carrying revolvers and rifles. Keeler says it looks like a convoy. The building is a residence on Folts Street.
1:30 Shots fired. Our reporter was told to move away. Snipers are being re-positioned Five or six shots have been fired in the last minute and a half.
1:32pm New York State Police have asked us not to release tactical information in case the suspect is listening to the radio.
1:35pm Some Utica schools, scheduled to release early today, are being dismissed as originally scheduled at 2:05pm.
2:07pm Schools will REMAIN on lockdown until notified by police. Kids will ONLY be released to parents who come to sign them out. Ilion will not be released until cleared by police.
2:10pm Raw audio from MetroSource of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s press conference. *NOTE this is MetroSource’s live audio channel – and will switch to the press conference when Cuomo begins speaking.
2:52pm State Senator James Seward has released the following statement: “My deepest sympathies go out to the victims, their family members, and friends involved in today’s tragic shooting in Herkimer County. I also extend my thoughts and prayers to the law enforcement officials who put their lives on the line every day, protecting our citizens from those who wish to do harm.”
3:05pm Governor Cuomo’s press conference has not begun yet.
More tactical movement is being observed in a building near the one surrounded by police. Affordable Mattress and the Glory Days Bar are in the immediate vicinity. An older man attempting to get out of the building through a fire escape is attempting to climb down the fire escape.
3:33pm Police are now using bolt cutters to access the fire escape down which the gentlemen referenced earlier was trying to climb.
3:40pm Bill Keeler is reporting that “aggressive” communications are coming from the public address system being directed at someone, thought to be the suspect, inside the building. Although there is a lot of activity surrounding the podium where Governor Cuomo is scheduled to hold a press conference, the Governor has not yet appeared to make a statement.
4:07pm As we await more information WIBX would like to thank all of our listeners, along with members of law enforcement, who have called us with information and updates throughout the day.
4:18pm Local legislators are said to be with Governor Cuomo as they continue to assess the situation and await more news from the scene.
4:29pm Herkimer and Mohawk schools are still on lockdown.
4:34pm We are receiving reports that there may be structural concerns in the building where police are focusing their attention. Our source is thought to be reliable, but we do not have confirmation.
4:50pm The press conference that was called shortly after 12:30pm today has not yet begun. We are told that it is expected to get underway within sixty seconds.
4:58pm New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D’amico has recapped the situation. Governor Cuomo is thanking police agencies for their handling of this situation. He is calling it a “truly inexplicable situation.” He says there is no information at this time as to any motive for the shootings. The suspect has not been apprehended at this time.
He says that Herkimer is one of the towns where people say, “This could not happen here.” He says this speaks to the increasingly prevalent issue of gun violence but that there is “…no community beyond the scope of senseless gun violence.” To the people of Herkimer the Governor says that the people of New York will remain with the Herkimer community in seeing this to its conclusion.
The Cuomo is urging residents in the area to remain in their homes.
The barber shop victims, shot dead, are being identified as 68-year old Harry Montgomery and Michael Rancier. At Gaffey’s the victims are Thomas Stefka and Michael Renshaw. The two survivors, not being identified pending notification of their families, are listed in critical condition at local hospitals.
Cuomo says that Myers’ apartment had guns and ammunition in his apartment. He was arrested in 1973 for driving while intoxicated in the Town of Webb but has no other criminal record.
He said as soon as they have more information they will pass it along. He said that it is not a case where they have information but are not releasing it; he said they simply do not have any more information at this time.
5:15pm Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney has released this statement: “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.”
5:35pmWe are being told that parents in the Mohawk schools have been allowed to pick up their children from school with photo identification. We are still waiting for information about Herkimer schools but available information indicates that Herkimer schools remain on lockdown.5:39pmThese details about the victims are now being provided by the New York State Police:Deceased are: Harry M. Montgomery, age 68, from 3 South Washington in the Village of Mohawk; Michael G. Rancier, age 57, from 114 Melrose in the Village of Herkimer; Thomas Stefka, an employee at Gaffy’s; and Michael L. Renshaw, a twenty-year veteran of the New York State Deartment of Corrections.In critical condition at Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital are John Seymour, owner of the barber shop; and Dan Haslauer, a customer at the barber shop.6:00pm A listener sent us an article from the Herkimer Telegramthat includes mention of a then-62 year old Kurt Myers from Mohawk who was involved in a two-car crash on January 20, 2011. No tickets were issued and we do not know if the man mentioned in the article is the same as the suspect in today’s shootings. However, the vehicle involved in the 2011 crash by the Mr. Myers mentioned was a red Jeep, similar to that mentioned in earlier reports involving this suspect.6:08pmHerkimer schools are on a modified lockdown. Parents may now pick up their children but must have photo identification and come in person to the school.9:44pmNo significant developments as we head through the evening. Standoff remains in downtown Herkimer10:34pm Governor Andrew Cuomo toured Herkimer and Mohawk earlier today to see the scenes where Kurt Myers killed four people and critically injured two others.”It’s going to take a long, long time to come to grips with what has happened, to make sense and find peace in this senseless situation,” Cuomo said. “But, I want the people of this community to know that the people of this state will be with them every step of the way. It’ll be a long journey, but we’ll be with them all throughout and not until it’s over.”Cuomo’s visit came several hours after the 64 year-old allegedly opened fire on four people at John’s Barber Shop on Main Street in Mohawk and at Gaffy’s Fast Lube in Herkimer.State Police Superintendent, Joseph D’Amico said Myers only had one arrest on his record from 1973, when he was taken in for Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol.Cuomo did not speak on the topic of his recent gun legislation, saying the area must begin to heal from this tragic incident.10:43pm Trooper Jack Keller says police have the building surrounded and contained, with the belief that Kurt Myers is still inside. They do not know where in the extremely large building he is, but they are confident that he is alone. He is considered armed and dangerous.
A robot was sent into the building, but Keller would not get into any detail about what was seen, found or anything about the robot being in the building. Officials are also unsure if he is dead or alive.
Correction: Keller says despite earlier reports that weapons were found in Myers’ home, to his knowledge there were no guns or ammo seized from the suspect’s South Washington Street apartment. But, police believe he did intentionally start the fire at the apartment at around 9:30 this morning.
Two victims are still hospitalized. Barbershop owner, John Seymour, says the suspect just walked in and started shooting. Keller says the owner said he had “no idea who this guy was or why he would do this.”
Thursday, March 14, 2013
6:27am The standoff continues. Police sent a robot into the building overnight but are not saying what they found.
WIBX News Director Jim Rondenelli is on the scene this morning and we will provide you with the latest information as this story continues to develop. Bill, Jeff, and Kristine are being joined at this hour by Larry Barton, who teaches threat assessment at the FBI Academy.
8:07am The standoff continues. Police say they believe that Kurt Myers is still inside the building. Many schools in the area remain closed. For a complete listing of today’s school closings and delays visit the story on our website.
08:16am State Police say they have shot Kurt Myers. He was found in the basement of the building, apparently waiting for police. Myers shot and killed an FBI K-9, identified only as a shepherd, before being shot by police.
State Police are holding a news conference, we believe within the hour.
08:49am State Police have released this preliminary statement: “State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico, representatives for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and for the Herkimer and Mohawk Police Departments will be holding a press conference at 10:00 a.m. to give updates about the shootings in the Villages of Herkimer and Mohawk, New York, which happened early yesterday.”
Updated 09:26am The conference will be held in the Grand Jury room of the Herkimer County Courthouse, 301 N. Washington Street Herkimer, NY 13350.”
09:59am As we await the press conference Senator Seward is releasing the following statement: “I am thankful that the tragic situation in Herkimer has come to an end without further loss of innocent human lives. We have the dedicated men and women in law enforcement to thank, and I commend them for their vigilance and bravery in bringing this horrific situation to a close and restoring safety to our streets. My thoughts and prayers remain with the families and friends of those lost in the close knit communities of Herkimer and Mohawk. I know there are many to lean on in this time of grief and mending and I trust the compassion, unity, and community strength we are all accustomed to will be on full display as we heal together.”
10:15am The Red Cross says about twenty people visited a shelter at Mohawk Valley Community College last night as the area near Main Street in Herkimer was evacuated. The Red Cross provided food, comfort kits, and beds to about fourteen people who stayed in the shelter overnight.
10:31am The press conference has begun. New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico is introducing law enforcement officials and legislators.
He said law enforcement acted as a partnership. The K-9 shot by Myers is dead.
The scene is still being considered an active crime scene and police say they expect to be there for the rest of the day.
Local Police Chief Mallone is thanking the residents and businesses for what he says “seemed like a small army here in the village.”
Herkimer County District Attorney says it has been a “long twenty-five hours.” He commends law enforcement that responded and gave assistance. He says he contacted Major Campbell from the New York State Police and got far more cooperation than he could have asked for, and is grateful for all of the assistance.
Superintendent D’Amico says they have no information available yet as to the identity of the dog, and will not get into the tactics deployed. A twelve-gauge shotgun believed to belong to the gunman was recovered from the scene. He is confirming that guns located at Myers’ apartment actually belonged to another resident of the building.
He says they are just beginning to process the crime scene and cannot provide information about the number of gunshot wounds sustained by Myers. Little is known about Myers, although it is said that he was known to be a loner.
DA Carpenter says the community is coming together, and the community is able to “tie resources” together with other communities to survive.
Police are not saying what, if any, information, was given to them by the two surviving victims, in critical condition at this hour at Saint Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica.
D’Amico said Myers engaged officers right away once they got inside. He said that it did not happen in the basement of the building, as said earlier, but rather on the main floor of the former Glory Days Bar.
The incident to which police responded on Gray Street, or Gray Avenue, is still being investigated. A search warrant has been applied for so that police can investigate that scene today. The homeowner came home and found the door open and the dogs let out. It is not know if the incident was related, or if it was coincidental.
D’Amico says he does not know Myers’ background and training, or whether he had any military service. He said law enforcement was prepared to “wait it out as long as (they) needed to.” It is not known if he recently had a relationship with any other individual.
10:49am Carpenter says his own office has been closed as a result of the incident and, as the building reopens, his staff will begin the process of reaching out to the families of the victims.
Police say they will release more information as soon as it becomes available, and as those active crime scenes are investigated.
3:15pm WIBX Reporter Gino Geruntino gets reaction from Herkimer residents. For the complete story click here.
Friday, March 15, 2013 WIBX Exclusive Interview with Former Boss of Kurt Myers:
WIBX First News with Keeler in the Morning talks with Steven Copperwheat. For a link to Jeff Monaski’s story and the audio interview click here.
Saturday, 16 March 2013 Funeral services have been announced for some of the shooting victims. For the story click here.
Tuesday, 19 March 2013 State Senator George Maziarz is sponsoring a bill to increase penalties for those convicted of killing K-9 duty dogs. Senate Bill S1079-2013 changes the killing or injuring of a police animal from a class A misdemeanor to a class D felony. The bill is co-sponsored by thirteen other senators including State Senator Joseph Griffo and James Seward.
Raw Video from Herkimer
Reporting for this story has been provided by Bill Keeler, Jeff Monaski, Jim Rondenelli, Kristine Bellino, Eric Meier, Gino Geruntino, Philip Creighton, Keith James, Stacey McAdams, Karl Schultz, Matthew Tallerico, Dave Wheeler, and Justin Cortese.