The discovery of a suspect’s SUV nearly 100 miles north of a fatal shooting he allegedly committed on Long Island sparked a manhunt that has gripped an upstate New York community where officials closed two schools and have enlisted the help of additional law enforcement agencies as they try to determine the alleged gunman’s whereabouts.
The manhunt for 63-year-old Sang Ho Kim now involves more than a dozen local and state agencies including the FBI. Kim, described as a disgruntled former vendor of Savenergy, an East Garden City lighting fixture firm, is suspected of opening fire inside the office around 10 a.m. Wednesday, allegedly killing one employee and injuring the company’s owner.
“The motive here appears to be work-related,” Chief of Department Steve Skrynecki told reporters at a news conference near the scene. “It seems to be over some bad business deal.”
Kim’s getaway car, a white Honda Pilot, was spotted along Route 9D in Putnam County just north of Cold Spring, near Sandy Beach State Park at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, Putnam County Sheriff Donald Smith said.
The number of agencies involved in the manhunt has ballooned since the shocking slaying just south of Roosevelt Field Mall. More than 100 officers from Nassau County and all the way to Putnam County have joined in on the search, police said.
Authorities said Kim was not in the vehicle when it was discovered and they declined to say what if anything was inside the Honda. The type of gun used in the attack has yet to be identified.
Police have also enlisted the help of K-9 teams, marine patrols and helicopters to comb the heavily wooded area located along the Hudson River, Smith said.
The shooting, in the heart of Garden City’s business and shopping district, startled locals who heard guns ring out and led some to fear that bullets were flying inside the cavernous mall. Helicopters buzzed overhead for several hours and traffic screeched to a halt in some areas as police searched for the shooter. Roosevelt Field was put on lock down until police said it was safe to reopen.
The discovery of Kim’s SUV forced officials in Putnam County to close two nearby schools for the day as a precautionary measure, Smith said.
Homeowners also received robocalls alerting them of the manhunt.
Nassau police is asking the public to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS if they have any information on Kim’s whereabouts.
-With Timothy Bolger