After surviving and making a full recovery following last month’s fatal shooting tragedy, John Seymour said, what happened to him that day was nothing short of a miracle.
Wednesday, March 13, started off just as any other day would have for Seymour. That morning he arrived at his barbershop in Mohawk to meet his clients, Harry Montgomery Sr., Michael Ransear, and Dan Haslauer.
While cutting Montgomery’s hair Seymour was looking toward the door and facing the front of the shop when he saw Kurt Myers walk in.
Seymour, 66, said Myers had come into the shop once in 2005 and told him he was moving to New Hampshire to work in the textile industry.
“He didn’t talk too much then and he didn’t seem like the kind of person someone would want to hang out with,” Seymour said.
When Myers entered into the shop Seymour said he saw him holding something.
“He came in and had something his hand. I thought it was a black umbrella and all of a sudden he lifted it up and began shooting what was really a gun,” said Seymour.
He recalled Myers looking at him with what he described as a spooky smirk while uttering the words, “Do you remember me…I’m Kurt.”
“It was almost as if he wanted me to know who he was and what he was about to do,” Seymour said.
Myers pointed the shotgun no more than five feet away from his face, then shot Seymour in the lower part of his back and his left wrist. After being shot, Seymour said, he fell to the ground in between his chair and the window to try to hide from any more bullets.
He said he stayed on the ground, prayed the Lord’s Prayer and played dead like a possum.
“I remembered watching a television show that talked about a shooting and how a person played dead and survived the shooting, so that’s what I did.”
While on the ground Seymour said he counted a total of nine shots fired from the gun and even recalled the song playing on the radio - the 1978 Joe Walsh hit “Life’s Been Good.”
“If people don’t believe in miracles, they should because it’s nothing short of a miracle that I am alive,” Seymour said.
He and Haslauer survived the shooting, but Ransear and Montgomery were killed.
Myers then drove to neighboring Herkimer, where he fatally shot two men inside Gaffey’s Fast Lube.
Myers died in a shootout with police the next morning inside the former Glory Days bar in Herkimer.
Haslauer has recently been upgraded from critical to serious condition, Seymour said.
Page 2 of 2 - After thinking about everything that occurred that day Seymour said he believes Myers planned the shootings.
“Personally I think he planned to do this because of how he chose to come to the barbershop and then to Gaffey’s, both places where older local gentlemen gather and are very small spaces that could allow a person to trap others.”
Seymour said that he is a Christian singer as was Thomas Stefka, an employee at Gaffey’s who was killed by Myers. “I’m not sure if there’s some sort of correlation between us, but we both have Christian music ties.”
“Either way Myers was ready to cause harm and no one knows why and no one will ever know why,” Seymour said. “What happened was tragic to our community and you hear about things such as this in bigger cities, but you would have never thought this would have happened here in Mohawk and Herkimer.”
Sunday, April 7, was the first day Seymour stepped back in to his shop.
“It was really eerie and smelled of disinfectant. I don’t plan on going back there again,” said Seymour. “It was a good spot and we had a good time there, but it will never be the same after what happened.”
Although he doesn’t plan to open the shop back up Seymour said he wants to continue working as a barber once his injuries have healed.
“It’s not one of those jobs you feel like you have to get up to do and I really enjoy it,” said Seymour.
Not only is Seymour planning to cut hair again, but he is keeping his spirits up and looking forward to events ahead.
He has a DJ business and works as a DJ and event singer.
“I have some weddings and other parties coming up so I’m looking forward to playing and singing at the events,” he said.
Seymour said he is also looking forward to re-joining his band, Boss V, which will be playing for the Ilion Class of 1963 reunion.
“We started the band in high school in 1964 and the last time we played together was in 2010 so I’m looking forward to playing with the band again,” he said.
Seymour, who takes care of his 100-year-old mother Mary and has lived with her in Ilion for 20 years, said there are times when he feels blue but said he feels so thankful to be alive and the overwhelming amount of support from the community has helped him to feel better.
“I don’t want to let what happened get me down and the reason why I’m still here is because God wasn’t done with me yet,” Seymour. “Maybe the reason why I was left alive is because I need to be here to help my mom or it could have been a way for God to say there is a God. Either way, I’m going to live my life as an example of God giving me a second chance at life.”