A manhunt is underway for a gunman who killed an East Garden City lighting company employee and seriously wounded the firm’s owner in a shooting that sparked lock downs at nearby schools, businesses and Roosevelt Field Mall, Nassau County police said.
Sang Ho Kim, 63, was identified as the suspect who walked into Savenergy on South Street near the corner of Ring Road a block southeast of the mall, opened fire and fled in an SUV toward the mall shortly after 10 a.m. Wednesday, police said.
“The motive here appears to be work-related,” Chief of Department Steve Skrynecki told reporters at a news conference near the scene, describing Kim as a disgruntled vendor. “It seems to be over some bad business deal.”
He did not immediately release the identities of the victims. The FBI and New York State police were among the agencies assisting police in the massive manhunt, which included building-by-building searches in the area.
The proximity to the mall led some to mistakenly believe that there was a gunman on the loose in the shopping center, but police said the suspected gunman does not appear to be on a random killing spree.
The area was abuzz with police activity as unmarked units sped to and from the scene, news and police helicopters hovered above and people turned away from the mall gathered in the media staging area to learn what happened.
One man who was trying to go to the mall with his son but was turned away only to find out that it was because of a shooting asked: “What’s the world coming to?”
Skrynecki said no patrons were being allowed into the mall and anyone who leaves is being checked first.
David Kilmnick, CEO of the nonprofit Long Island GLBT Services Network, which has a center across the street from Roosevelt Field, was one of the many people secured inside. Police had directed him into the shopping center at about 10:30 a.m. after an unsuccessful attempt to access his group’s parking lot.
“I’ve been here for three hours,” he told the Press mid-afternoon from within the mall’s food court. He described the scene inside as “very calm,” with a substantial police presence, nearly all of its shops closed and about 150 or so others with him at the food court. “It was more of confusion,” he said of their experience. “People did not know what was happening.”
Nassau Community College since lifted its lock down. The Garden City School District is releasing students at the usual time.
The suspect is believed to be driving a white Honda Pilot with NY license plate No. FMA3648. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Kim is asked to call Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS. All callers will remain anonymous.