GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The getaway car of a man who authorities said is wanted in a deadly shooting in an East Garden City office has been found, but the suspect was still at large late Thursday.
Dozens of police departments as well as state and federal authorities have been hunting for 63-year-old Sang Ho Kim of Queens.
Kim has managed to elude authorities for more than 36 hours. Police teams remained vigilant and planned to resume a methodical search on the ground on Friday morning, CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported.
“There are thousands of acres that we’re in the process of searching methodically. It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s going to take a period of time,” Troop K Commander Major Mike Kopy explained.
Police found his white Honda SUV abandoned in Putnam County on Wednesday night, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said.
“A Putnam County sheriff located the suspect’s car in Sandy Beach Park, and there’s now a search under way that involves the FBI and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department and the state police,” Mangano said.
Mangano said police believe Kim may have fled on foot and are searching for him in a wooded area nearby. Roadblocks have been set up, and police have been searching cars as drivers leave the sealed-off area.
“He’s potentially armed, and we consider him armed and dangerous,” Putnam County Sheriff Don Smith said Thursday. “We’re working to keep the public safe. We don’t want to be alarmist, but we have a fugitive loose. We’re telling people please lock your doors; don’t leave your keys in the car.”
Police said that Kim may know the area well.
“The suspect had a connection to the Hudson Valley, perhaps twenty years ago, perhaps to this area when this suspect vacationed in this area. We believe the suspect knew this area and didn’t come here by accident,” Smith said.
More than 100 law enforcement officers from a number of jurisdictions joined the land, air and marine search effort Thursday afternoon, according to the sheriff’s office. As CBS 2’s Lou Young reported, heavily armed state troopers in fatigues were searching for Kim near Breakneck Ridge in Philipstown, about 60 miles from the crime scene. Choppers were scene flying overhead, and police were searching passing vehicles.’
“What was the most unnerving was the helicopters, seeing them and hearing them flying right outside your window,” said Krista Monzoeillo, a Cold Spring resident.
Some residents took their precautions a step further.
“Things weren’t getting any better so I just felt like if he was really close by, which he could’ve been, it was just better for me to take my very young family away,” said a man who moved his family into a hotel.
Police said they don’t believe Kim has any outdoor or wilderness experience, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.
April Brooks, special agent in charge of the Criminal Division in the FBI’s New York field office, said authorities are following all leads.
“Those leads can take us — whether it be Long Island, Orange County, Dutchess County or Putnam County — that’s what we need to do,” she said. “We’ll cover each and every one.”.
Mangano would not comment on reports that Kim left a suicide note or that he told a relative he was planning to kill himself, 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reported.
State Police Maj. Mike Kopy said, “We don’t have any indication that he’s taken his life, so we have to treat this as if the subject has fled the vehicle and is in the area.”
As a result of the ongoing manhunt, schools in the Haldane Central School District in Putnam County were closed Thursday, and all school activities and transportation were canceled.
Route 9D was also closed during the search from the Village of Cold Spring north to the Breakneck Tunnel.
“I’m terrified because I live so close,” resident Caryn Cannova told CBS 2’s Lou Young. “I took my son to a friend’s house in Nelsonville, where he’ll be safe.”
The Beacon City School District also initiated a lockout as a precautionary measure for all schools, but announced it had been lifted Thursday afternoon.
The Putnam County Sheriff’s Department has asked anyone who sees anything suspicious to call 845-808-4350.
Just after 10 a.m. Wednesday, Kim walked into Savenergy, a lighting-fixture importing company located at 645 South Street in East Garden City, and opened fire on the company’s chief executive officer and an employee, police said.
“The motive here appears to be a work-related motive,” Nassau County police Chief Steven Skrynecki said Wednesday. “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.”
Skrynecki said police believe Kim once worked as a vendor for the company.
“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.
The unidentified worker died. The CEO, John Choi, was in the intensive care unit in critical condition, Nassau University Medical Center spokeswoman Shelley Lotenberg said.
Choi’s wife told CBS 2 that Kim believed the company owed him money, but she said it did not.
“Clearly, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims — one fatally wounded, the other struggling and being treated,” Mangano said Wednesday.
After the shooting, police said Kim took off in the SUV. He was last seen wearing a red shirt with a gray or brown suit jacket, Nassau County police said.
The shooting sparked a widespread lockdown Wednesday at area schools and colleges and nearby Roosevelt Field Mall. Kevin Connelly’s wife was locked inside.
“Extreme concern because not knowing what’s going on, in light of the circumstances that occurred in Africa, everyone’s concerned about what may have been taking place,” Connelly 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.
Schools in some Northern Suburbs were shut down on Thursday but were expected to reopen on Friday. the search will resume when daylight breaks.
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