Police: Disgruntled Vendor Opens Fire Inside East Garden City Business, Killing 1
EAST GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The manhunt for a suspect who allegedly opened fire at a East Garden City business Wednesday morning, killing one person and seriously injuring another, stretched into the evening.
Nassau County police continued to search late Wednesday for Sang Ho Kim, who is believed to be “armed and very dangerous,” Chief Steve Skrynecki said.
Kim was last seen wearing a red shirt with a gray or brown suit jacket. Kim may be hiding out somewhere in upstate New York, Nassau County police said.
Just after 10 a.m., Kim, 63, walked into Savenergy, a lighting-fixture importing company located at 645 South St., and opened fire on the company’s chief executive officer and an employee, police said. The unidentified worker died. The CEO, John Choi, was last reported in critical condition after undergoing surgery, authorities said.
Police said the shooting was a motivated by a business dispute, CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported. Kim once worked as a vendor for the company. It wasn’t exactly clear what sparked the violence.
“The motive here appears to be a work-related motive,” Skrynecki said. “There was some disgruntlement between him and the company he was attacking. We have nothing to suggest that this individual is on a random, shooting rampage.”
After the shooting, Kim fled the scene in a white Honda Pilot with New York license plate number FMA-3648, police said.
“Clearly, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims — one fatally wounded, the other struggling and being treated right now,” Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said.
Shortly after the shooting, roads around the area were blocked off as police conducted a building-to-building search. The nearby Roosevelt Field Mall was placed on lockdown, but authorities were allowing people to leave Wednesday afternoon after being screened by police, Skrynecki said.
The Nassau County Community College campus was also placed on lockdown as a precaution, but the alert was eventually lifted.
Garden City School District schools were placed on lockout mode, meaning no one was allowed into school buildings.
The shutdowns left people scrambling to find out if their loved ones were safe.
Teacher Michele Lambraia’s school was among the seven locked down. But while she was trying to keep her kindergartners and first-graders calm, she was also left worrying about the safety of her own three children — one in middle school, one in high school and one at Hofstra University.
“The superintendent sent out emails and texts, so you feel informed,” she told CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider.
Kevin Connelly, whose wife was among those locked inside the mall, told Gusoff that he instantly thought about this week’s mall hostage situation in Kenya that left 61 people dead.
“Not knowing what’s going on and in light of the circumstances that have occurred in Africa, everyone’s concerned about what may have been taking place,” he said.
Bert Grant told reporters, including WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond, that he was on the way to the company’s warehouse for an appointment with the owner when the shooting occurred.
“My office called me, and they were in a panic because they had heard on the radio it was Savenergy, and they knew I was having a meeting at Savenergy,” he said.
Police were searched Kim’s home in Fresh Meadows, Queens, on Wednesday afternoon. Authorities received several reports of sightings of the suspect, but none resulted in an arrest.
Authorities who remained at the scene of the East Garden City shooting on Wednesday night said that the act was not random, CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported.
“This individual came here to confront these two individuals who work in this facility. This was not a random act, and then fled the scene,” Nassau County Police Detective Michael Bitsko said.
“We do not, at this point, believe he is a threat to the general public, but, of course, he is a very dangerous individual,” Skrynecki said.
Skrynecki would not say what type of weapon was used or whether one was recovered.
Kim is considered armed and dangerous and police have urged anybody who may spot him, or anybody who has information about him to contact authorities immediately.
“If you come into contact with this individual do not try to approach him. Call 911 immediately, he is still armed and dangerous,” Det. Bitsko said.
A $5,000 reward is being offered for information in the case, Skrynecki said. Anyone with information is asked to Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 800-244-TIPS.
Check Out These Other Stories From CBSNewYork.com: