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Four killed in upstate New York shootings, police say

By Jake Carpenter, CNN
March 14, 2013 -- Updated 0405 GMT (1205 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Victims identified
  • NEW: Suspect believed to be in abandoned building
  • The man is also believed to have blown up his house, source says
  • Schools and a hospital were in lockdown

(CNN) -- A man suspected of killing four people and injuring two others in a 10-minute shooting spree in Herkimer County, New York, is believed to be surrounded by police, authorities said Wednesday.

The upstate New York man also is believed to have blown up his house, according to a federal law enforcement source briefed on the investigation.

Policing searching for Kurt R. Myers, 64, surrounded an abandoned building, State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico and Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. Myers ditched his vehicle following shootings at a barber shop and an auto maintenance business, police said.

Officials provided no possible motive.

Schools and a hospital in the Mohawk Valley area, about 70 miles west-northwest of Albany, went into lockdown while police searched for the suspect.

Police first received a report of a fire at a residence at 9:29 a.m., D'Amico said. The call was followed minutes later with reports of shootings at John's Barber Shop in Mohawk and Gaffey's Fast Lube in Herkimer, authorities said.

Myers allegedly spoke with individuals at the barber shop before firing multiple rounds, D'Amico said.

Harry Montgomery, 68, and Michael Rancier, 57, were pronounced dead at the scene. Two other people were in critical condition at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica.

Gaffey's employee Thomas Stefka and Michael Renshaw, a 20-year veteran of the State Department of Corrections, were killed at the auto business.

Police believe Myers drove away from the auto shop and left his vehicle outside an abandoned building in Herkimer before shooting at officers, D'Amico said. No officers were injured during the shootout.

Cuomo said he came to Herkimer to make sure the state was providing as many resources as possible.

"This is truly an inexplicable situation; there was no apparent, rational motive to the best of our knowledge ... to provoke these attacks," Cuomo said. "These are the types of peaceful, quiet communities that one would say 'this could never happen here,'" he said, referring to Mohawk and Herkimer.

"We're concerned about officer safety, so we're in no rush to bring this to a conclusion; we want to make sure no one else gets injured today," D'Amico said.

A 1973 drunken driving arrest is the only past incident on Myers' record, D'Amico told the media.

Reporters on Wednesday pressed Cuomo about New York's new gun-control laws, which were the first in the nation to be enacted after the Newtown, Connecticut, school massacre.

The laws fortified New York's existing assault weapons ban, limited the number of bullets allowed in magazines and strengthened rules that govern the mentally ill, which included a requirement to report potentially harmful behavior.

Cuomo said he would discuss the laws later.

"Gun violence has been with us for a long, long time," the governor said. "I think the challenge for government, the challenge for society, is to do the best that it can."

CNN's Deborah Feyerick, Jason Kessler, Eden Pontz, Leigh Remizowski and Emily Minner contributed to this report.

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