ALBANY, N.Y. — The barber who survived last month's fatal shooting rampage in neighboring central New York villages said Wednesday he played dead while the gunman shot up his shop, even as one of the victims fell on him.
John Seymour recounted how Kurt Myers walked into his barbershop in Mohawk on March 13 just as he was pulling the cloth from a customer in the barber chair. Myers asked Seymour if he remembered him, pulled up his shotgun – Seymour had thought it was an umbrella – and began firing.
"It just kind of spooks me out that he would say, `Do you remember me ...' And he had a smirk on his face almost like he wanted me to know that he was the one who was going to do me in," Seymour, 66, said in a phone interview from his home in Ilion.
Seymour yelled: "This is really a gun! He's going to kill us all!" as Myers started shooting Seymour and three of his customers. Seymour and Dan Haslauer survived, but Michael Ransear and Harry Montgomery Sr. were killed. Myers then drove to neighboring Herkimer, where he fatally shot two men inside Gaffey's Fast Lube.
Myers died in a shootout with police the next morning inside an abandoned Herkimer bar.
Seymour counted about nine shots in his shop and even recalls the song on the radio: the 1978 Joe Walsh hit "Life's Been Good." Seymour stayed still on the floor even as Montgomery fell on him. He had remembered an interview with a girl on TV who survived a family shooting by playing dead.
"I knew he shot everybody, but my worst fear was that maybe he was going to stand there and wait to see if anybody moved so he could shoot us again," he said.
Police were still trying to figure out a motive for the shootings. Seymour said he cut Myers' hair years ago and knew him only passingly as a "nervous-type guy" that you wouldn't want to hang around with.
Seymour, who initially spoke to the Utica Observer-Dispatch, is recovering at home with wounds to his left wrist and back. Though his scissoring wrist is still healing, he wants to get back to being a barber.
Not at his old shop, though.
"I don't think I'm going to back there, no," he said. "Too many memories."