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The Times
  • Shooting survivor attends mom’s birthday party — via iPad

  • Mary Seymour admits she’s lost without her son John, who was one of the surviving victims of Wednesday's Herkimer County shooting spree.

    So when he made a special, digital appearance at her 100th birthday party Saturday at Stonebridge Inn in New Hartford, her face lit up.

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  • Mary Seymour admits she’s lost without her son John.
    “I don’t know how to turn on the furnace,” she said.
    So when he made a special, digital appearance at her 100th birthday party Saturday at Stonebridge Inn in New Hartford, her face lit up.
    “You’re missing a great party,” she said to John, who was speaking from a hospital bed at St. Elizabeth Medical Center over video conference as her granddaughter Sheila Ward held up an iPad.
    John Seymour, 66, owner of John’s Barbershop in Mohawk, was one of two survivors in Wednesday’s shooting spree in Mohawk and Herkimer that left four others dead.
    The iPad was passed around to party-goers Saturday so he could see and take part in the celebration.
    “That cheered me up a lot,” he said. “That’s the best thing I’ve had, and all my friends and everything. I’m overwhelmed.”
    Dan Haslauer of Ilion was the second survivor and remained in critical condition at St. Elizabeth’s Saturday. His family was with him at the hospital and did not wish to speak.
    The shooter, Kurt Myers, 64, reportedly set fire to his Mohawk home before heading to the barber shop, where four people were shot — two of them fatally. He then drove to Gaffey’s Fast Lube in Herkimer, killing two more people.
    He was shot dead by police after a 19-hour standoff at a vacant building on North Main Street in Herkimer. Before he was killed, he shot an FBI police dog to death.
    When Mary Seymour’s friends first broke the news to her that her son had been shot, she said she thought it was “some kind of a joke.”
    “It’s terrible. It’s just terrible,” she said. “I have no words for it. It’s so bad.”
    John Seymour takes care of his 100-year-old mother and has lived with her in Ilion for 20 years.
    “We’ve been together, just the two of us, since my husband (Kenneth) died nine years ago,” Mary Seymour said.
    Her son was listed in fair condition Saturday awaiting an operation on his left wrist. He hadn’t been cleared to leave the hospital in order to go to his mother’s party, which he helped plan with his two sisters.
    His sister Mary Hornett, 69, of New Hartford, said the first thing John Seymour said when she visited him in the hospital Wednesday was “make sure you still have that party.”
    Seymour, a musician known around the community for his singing, was slated to perform at the party. Because he couldn’t be there in person, he sang “Happy Birthday” twice over video chat — once as a solo and again joining the party’s chorus of about 60 guests as the cake was brought out.
    Page 2 of 2 - John’s friends and family feel lucky to still have him in their lives, Ward said. She said her thoughts were with the families of all the victims.
    “What are the odds that all this happens right before her birthday party?” she said. “We’re lucky. We’re able to still do this (party) and still have him here in some form.”
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