Gunman killed by police after N.Y. shooting rampage that killed 4, injured 2
HERKIMER, N.Y. — The man killed by police after a shooting rampage that left four people dead was a mystery in a small town, a stranger to his neighbors and a man of few words, even at a bar where he regularly drank Coors Light and listened to, but never sang, karaoke.
A former boss who worked with gunman Kurt Myers for 20 years described him as a quiet and nervous but intelligent and congenial man who was a fan of World War II trivia — though a recent encounter with his old employee left him unsettled.
Steve Copperwheat, who hired Myers as a machine operator in the early 1980s at Waterbury Felt, a manufacturer of industrial textiles, said he encountered him in a Wal-Mart parking lot three months ago after not seeing him in about 10 years.
“I yelled over to him and he looked at me, said my name, said he was retired, and just went booking away,” Copperwheat said. “It was almost like he didn't want anybody to know where he was. He was trying to be very distant, which surprised me. The whole conversation was really spooky.”
Police don't know why the 64-year-old Myers, whose final killing was of an FBI dog, chose the locations or victims. The gunman didn't appear to be close to his family even though it has lived in the area for generations, and police interviews with relatives and neighbors have produced little.
About the only clue is his cryptic query before he opened fire on customers in a barber shop where he used to get his hair cut: “Do you remember me?”
Myers died Thursday in a gunfight with officers in an abandoned tavern where he holed up 19 hours earlier after walking into the barber shop and a car-care shop and shooting six men, four fatally.
Myers was a loner, never married. Neighbors in this poor upstate New York town say he rarely spoke. The barkeeps who served him several times a week for a decade didn't even know his name.
Copperwheat, now the owner of Environmental Composites in Herkimer, said Myers had “always seemed to be in a rush. Walking, talking — everything he did was fast.”
Myers seemed to be quite intelligent and was fond of World War II trivia. “He was really a buff on dates,” Copperwheat said. “Once he got upset because one of the girls in the office didn't know when Pearl Harbor was.”
The business was sold and moved several times, with Myers and other workers moving with it to several locations in central New York and eventually Dover, N.H., in 2003, Copperwheat said. There, Myers shared an apartment for a while with several other workers.
“I never had a problem with him arguing with anybody or fighting with anybody,” Copperwheat said. “He just kind of kept to himself.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Study: At least 786 child abuse victims died despite being on protective services’ radar
- U.S., Cuba patching torn relations with historic accord
- $1.5B more a year — from fees tacked onto phone bills — earmarked for faster Internet
- Sale of ‘Breathe Easy’ shirts blasted amid Indiana protests
- Lifting limits on Cuba a boon for U.S.
- Republican lawmakers vow to block confirmation of any potential ambassador to Cuba
- Fracking essentially banned in N.Y.
- Warren’s hangups over trade agenda threaten party ties
- IRS freezes hiring, stops overtime pay, warns it won’t answer half of its calls amid 3% funding cut
- Sony bows to threats, cancels Dec. 25 release of ‘The Interview’
- After Senate punts, Great Lakes cleanup bill awaits new Congress