Herkimer (New York): A 64-year-old loner sauntered into a barbershop in upstate New York, coolly asked if the man cutting hair remembered him and then opened fire with a shotgun, the first shots in a burst of violence that left four dead and two critically wounded.
Kurt Myers, the suspected gunman, then holed up in an abandoned building which was surrounded by police early Thursday. Police periodically blared sirens in an apparent attempt to encourage Myers to surrender, if alive. Booms also were heard. John Seymour, one of the men wounded in the attacks told his sister, Mary Hornett, the barbershop attack came out of nowhere.
"He just said that the guys were in the barbershop and this guy comes in and he says, `Hi John, do you remember me?` and my brother said, `Yes, Kurt, how are you?` and then he just started shooting," Hornett said.
Hornett said her brother, who was hospitalised in critical condition, was doing well after being shot in the left hand and right hip.
"My brother couldn`t think of any reason why he would do such a thing," she said, adding that Myers hadn`t been in the shop for a couple of years.
Officers were fired on from the abandoned building on Wednesday afternoon while looking for Myers, state police Superintendent Joseph D`Amico said. At least one officer returned fire.
"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.
The shootings shattered the peace of Mohawk and Herkimer, two small villages about 170 miles northwest of New York City, separated by the Mohawk River and the New York State Thruway.
Police snipers waited on rooftops on a block of small businesses in Herkimer as they waited for Myers to emerge. Police said Myers` rampage started with a fire in his apartment in Mohawk at about 9:30 am Wednesday.
He then drove to John`s Barber Shop around the corner and used a shotgun to kill two customers, D`Amico said, identifying them as Harry Montgomery, 68, and Michael Ransear, 57, a retired corrections officer.