An inside police source in New York has given SOFREP the detail-to-detail events during the Herkimer murders, and subsequent HRT raid, that led to the death of the suspect two weeks ago. SOFREP Exclusive: FBIs HRT Kill New York Shooter

On March 13th, police officers from the Mohawk Village Police, along with members of the local fire department, were called to an apartment building for a suspected structure fire. On the way to the location, officers were advised that a shooting had occurred at a barbershop only a few buildings away from the apartment fire. On scene in the barbershop, officers came upon two critically injured individuals and two deceased individuals who appeared to have been shot with a shotgun.

While on scene at the barbershop, officers were dispatched to a car maintenance shop in the village of Herkimer, where another shooting had been reported. Once the police arrived they found two men who had died from what appeared to be wounds from a shotgun.

The local Chief of Police, who was responsible for both Herkimer and Mohawk, began to coordinate with State Police personnel to locate the shooter. As a command post was put in place by State Police with the local police department, a call came in through 911 reporting that a Jeep was traveling the wrong way on a one-street in Herkimer.

Local police responded to the call immediately and came across the empty Jeep parked near an abandoned building, just one block from the police station. The police immediately discovered that the owner of the vehicle was also the owner of the burning apartment building. A local police officer with a tracking K-9 unit was led to the abandoned building, which was subsequently surrounded by Herkimer Police SWAT. A secure perimeter was established and at this point no one knew if the perpetrator was inside the abandoned building.

Shortly after the perimeter was established, the regional Troop from the New York State Police Special Operations Response Team (SORT) was deployed to the scene to stand-by for a possible raid against the perpetrator. Throughout the rest of the day, the other four SORT teams from around the State were brought to the scene.

Members of New York’s SORT unit.

Almost exactly four hours after the apartment was set on fire, and while police were discussing how to determine whether someone had entered the abandoned facility, several shots were fired from inside the facility towards officers on the perimeter. Shotgun rounds made contact with nearby buildings and police vehicles, but no personnel were injured. A single U.S. Deputy Marshal returned fire from his M4 carbine.

The SORT teams are a full-time tactical response team for the state of New York, are well-funded and have advanced resources in their arsenal. They began to deploy robots in the building to locate the suspect. CS gas, flash bangs, and other noise-generating devices were utilized for almost 9 hours after the suspect fired his first shots from inside the building to ensure he would not be allowed to rest. The building itself had no electricity or heat, and the outside temperatures were in the high teens.

As planning to end the siege was being discussed, a SORT officer brought up the possibility of using the FBI Hostage Rescue Team (HRT), knowing that they have K-9s that are trained to conduct building searches. SORT officers contacted HRT in Quantico, and, after authorization, three helicopters, a HRT team and their K-9 left Virginia around 10:00 pm on the night of the 13th. They wouldn’t arrive until 5:00 am on the morning of the 14th.

SORT and HRT about to breach
HRT and SORT members getting ready to breach the abandoned building.

Because of the advanced training SORT receives and has participated in with HRT, both units integrated with one another and launched their assault on the building at 8:00 am – 17 hours after the suspect fired his shots against police.

  •  4 members of SORT took positions at the front windows of the building to cover the entry team.
  •  The first team (main assault force) of 7 SORT members and 11 HRT operators, along with the K-9, entered the building through the main entrance in order to clear the first floor.
  •  A second team of 10 SORT members and 3 HRT operators would follow behind the first team, and would break off and clear the cellar.
  •  A third team of 4 SORT members and 4 members of the FBI Regional SWAT Team would enter from an exterior entrance that would lead the team to the second floor of the abandoned building.
Two year old Ape

As the main team was clearing the first floor, the suspect fired his shotgun in their direction. The team returned fire and took up cover positions and employed 9-banger flash bangs towards the room where the suspect was barricaded. Immediately following the flash bangs detonation, the HRT K-9, Ape, was released into the room. The suspect fired one shot from his 12-gauge shotgun that struck the dog and destroyed his camera (shots possibly were blocked by his protective armor). The dog was pushed back from the first round but immediately re-engaged and went after the suspect right before a second shot struck Ape and killed him instantly. The HRT operators were close behind Ape. They entered the room and immediately killed the shooter.

A final ceremony was conducted by HRT and the State Police as Ape’s cremated remains were returned to his home in northern Virginia.