GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (AP) — A disgruntled vendor walked into a suburban light fixture company where he had done business and opened fire Wednesday, killing one employee, wounding another person and leading to the lockdown of a nearby mall, police said.
The gunman fled in a white SUV toward the Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City but didn’t go there, said Nassau County police department chief Steven Skrynecki. Schools and businesses also were locked down in the area, about 30 miles east of New York City.
Skrynecki said authorities were hunting for a 63-year-old man named Sang Ho Kim but didn’t think he was on a “random shooting rampage.”
“This seems to be motivated by his association with this business,” he said.
Police said Kim once served as a vendor to the light fixture import firm, Savenergy. It wasn’t clear what sparked the shooting, but the gunman walked into a room where the owner and employees were standing and fired.
The wounded victim was undergoing surgery. No names were released.
Skrynecki said about four people total were inside the company at the time. He refused to say what type of a weapon was used or whether one was recovered.
Authorities also said they had finished searching nearby buildings and lifted the lockdowns.
“We’re very confident he’s not in this immediate area,” Skrynecki said.
When reports of the shooting surfaced, no customers or workers were allowed to leave Roosevelt Field mall and no one was allowed to enter, but customers were able to roam around the shopping center. Some stores, like Bloomingdales, closed. Customers were urged to call ahead of time before coming to the shopping center Wednesday.
At Dick’s Sporting Goods, supervisor Joe DeVito said Nassau police told them no one could leave and the lockdown lasted about an hour.
DeVito said the shoppers didn’t do much during that time. “They sat around. We told them the situation. Mostly they were on their cellphones,” he said.
Tony Dorazio of Nesconset was working with a construction crew in a vacant store in the mall. He said his first news of the shooting came from the wife of a carpenter he was working with.
“She was concerned because she saw on the news that the mall was in lockdown,” he said. “We hadn’t heard that. We didn’t know. Then we heard there was a shooter in the vicinity and a suspect on the loose. But it wasn’t here.”
Dorazio said he thought of the dayslong massacre at a mall in Kenya, but it was it was clear that this shooting was nothing of that magnitude.
“The mall was very, very quiet,” he said. “We didn’t see anybody really upset. Some stores were closed, some were open, and we could hear helicopters.”
A call to Savenergy wasn’t returned.
Associated Press writers Jim Fitzgerald and Verena Dobnik contributed to this report.