GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (AP) — The getaway car of a disgruntled vendor wanted in a fatal shooting at a suburban light fixture company was found abandoned in upstate New York, but the suspect was still on the run, authorities said Thursday.
The white SUV in which Sang Ho Kim, of Queens, is believed to have fled was found at 11 p.m. Wednesday at Sandy Beach Park, about 50 miles north of New York City, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said.
Journalists were kept away from a law enforcement staging area on Thursday; investigators searched vehicle trunks as drivers left the sealed-off area.
The Putnam County Sheriff’s office ordered the Haldane Central School District closed as a precaution. The Beacon City School District initiated a precautionary lockout, but announced by early afternoon that it had been lifted and a normal dismissal was expected.
Sheriff Donald B. Smith said investigators were considering all possibilities, including that Kim may have taken his life or that he had already fled the area.
“We’re working to keep the public safe. We don’t want to be alarmist, but we have a fugitive loose,” Smith said. “We’re telling people please lock your doors; don’t leave your keys in the car.
Darrin and Melissa Santos, of Cold Spring, “spoke briefly” about the circumstances with their 9-year-old twin boys and 8-year-old girl, who attend Haldane Elementary. They decided it was a good day to take a family ride out of town.
“No big deal,” Melissa Santos said at a gas station.
The night before, according to her husband, “We heard helicopters. It had to be after 11 o’clock. And then she got a call from her aunt — ‘Don’t go outside. They found the guy’s car. He could be anywhere.’”
Authorities said that on Wednesday morning the 63-year-old suspect walked into a room where the owner and employees of the Long Island light fixture import firm, Savenergy, were standing and opened fired.
The wounded man was identified as John Choi, the company’s chief executive. Nassau University Medical Center spokeswoman Shelley Lotenberg said he was in the intensive care unit in critical condition.
The name of the person who was killed has not been released.
The shooting led to the lockdown of schools and businesses at Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City, about 30 miles east of New York City.
Nassau County police Chief Steven Skrynecki said at a news conference that police believe Kim once served as a vendor to Savenergy.
“There was some disgruntlement between him and the company he was attacking,” he said. “We have nothing to suggest that this individual is on a random, shooting rampage.”
A call to Savenergy wasn’t returned. The company’s website said it develops energy reduction technology that promises to reduce lighting, air conditioning, heating and electrical costs.
The shooting took place near a perimeter road that leads to the Roosevelt Field mall. The area isn’t far from where Charles Lindberg took off on his historic trans-Atlantic flight to Paris in 1927.
Associated Press writers Jim Fitzgerald and Verena Dobnik, AP National Writer Martha Mendoza and AP researcher Judith Ausuebel contributed to this report.