Kurt Myers, 64, allegedly set his home in Mohawk on fire just before 9:30 a.m. Wednesday before killing two people and wounding two others at John's Barbershop in Mohawk, the Utica (N.Y.) Observer-Dispatch reported. He then allegedly drove across the Mohawk River to Herkimer and killed two more people at Gaffey's Jiffy Lube.
Harry Montgomery, 68, of Mohawk and Michael Rancier, 57, of Herkimer were killed and two others were wounded in a shooting at John's Barber Shop. John Seymour, the owner of the barber shop, and Dan Haslauer, a customer, were reported in critical condition at St. Elizabeth Medical Center.
Thomas Stefka, who was in his 60s, and Michael Renshaw, who was in his 40s, were killed at Gaffey's, the newspaper said. Stefka worked at Gaffey's and Renshaw was a 20-year veteran of the New York State Department of Corrections, police said.
The newspaper said police were in a standoff with Myers, who was believed to be holed up in a vacant building formerly occupied by Glory Days Food and Drink on Main Street in Mohawk.
Witnesses said a gun was fired from the building before the standoff began Wednesday afternoon.
Police described Myers as "armed and extremely dangerous" and advised neighbors to remain indoors.
Police released little information about Myers or why he might have targeted two small businesses.
"He came out of nowhere. He was not on our radar and hasn't caused any problems," Herkimer and Mohawk Police Chief Joseph Malone told the Observer-Dispatch.
Michele Minar, a bartender at Congee's in Herkimer, described Myers as a "loner" who would come in on Fridays and Saturdays, drink two Coors while listening to live music and then leave quietly.
"He just wasn't a people person, and he would never talk to anyone else," she said.
The Observer-Dispatch reported Myers' criminal record included a 1973 drunken driving case, but the report did not indicate whether he was convicted.
Witnesses said Myers fled a shooting scene in a red Jeep with a black top police said had been found shortly after 10 a.m. in Herkimer. A librarian at the Herkimer public library said she saw the Jeep drive through the parking lot shortly after the shootings.
Schools in the area were locked down while police searched for the gunman, but classes proceeded as normal, school district officials said.
John Ackler of Ilion told The (Herkimer) Telegram his best friend's father was shot at John's Barbershop, but he was unsure if he was injured or dead.
"I think this guy is trying to prove a point," Ackler said. "It definitely seems like he knew what he was doing."
Police officers removed several guns from Myers' apartment after the fire was extinguished, the Telegram said.