Talk about being in the right place at the right time. If off-duty police officer Donald Moore hadn’t been in the New York Mills, NY AT&T store on Thursday things may have turned out a lot worse.
(WSYR-TV/AP) – State Police say a 79-year-old man with a history of harassing store employees, walked into an AT&T store in Oneida County and shot an employee, before being shot and killed by an off-duty police officer.
Police say the gunman, identified as Abraham Dickan, walked into the store located on Commercial Drive in New York Mills just before 1pm Thursday Afternoon and shot store clerk Seth Turk, 37, in the stomach.
Off-duty Rome police officer Donald Moore, 25, was a customer in the store at the time, and shot Dickan with his personal gun.
Investigators say their preliminary investigation has revealed employees had prior problems with the gunman, who had expressed hostility toward them. A letter recovered from Dickan’s pocket contained the names of six employees he allegedly intended to kill.
Turk was in surgery at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Utica as of Thursday afternoon. His condition was not immediately known.
Dickan’s neighbors thought he was odd, but never dreamed he’d do something like this.
CNY Central: Neighbors had said part of Dickan’s eccentricity involved home security and that he had placed cameras and lights all around the house. One neighbor was concerned that Dickan may have installed an alarm system that could hurt intruders.
Neighbors added that Dickan had celebrated his 79th birthday on Wednesday night. Mark Piersma lived next door to Dickan and considered him a little eccentric but was shocked to hear police name him as a shooting suspect.
“It just seems like the last couple weeks he’s been more agitated seemingly than before. I’ve heard him argue with somebody on the phone. He could be in his house and I’d be on my porch and I’d hear him clear as day. So I knew he had a temper,” said Piersma. “But I didn’t think he would take it as far as he did.”
AT&T employees had previously reported Dickan to their home office for making racial slurs and using threatening language. After AT&T sent a letter to Dickan cutting off his service and banning him from their stores, the behavior was reported to police. Dickans’ gun permit was then revoked. That seems to be what set him off – as if it was the AT&T employees’ fault he lost his carry license, as opposed to his own bizarre, offensive and threatening behavior.
Utica OD: Dickan’s permit was first issued in 1954, and it allowed Dickan to legally carry a concealed registered weapon.
At Dickan’s request, a suspension hearing took place on May 21 in front of Carl Del Buono, law clerk to Oneida County Court Judge Michael L. Dwyer. Serving as the county’s pistol licensing officer, Dwyer permanently revoked Dickan’s permit on Monday due to Dickan’s lack in “judgment and good moral character,” according to the decision.
Dickan hadn’t been in the store ever since AT&T’s letter warned him to stay away two months ago, until he learned he wouldn’t get his firearm back, Swenszkowski said.
The gun that Dickan used in Thursday’s shooting, however, was a .357 Magnum revolver and police still are trying to find out where he obtained that weapon.
Thank God Officer Moore was armed when he encountered Dickan, who was illegally carrying a concealed weapon. The local news stations are reporting that the Utica area is celebrating Office Moore’s heroic actions. Nobody more than the employees at the store, I’ll bet. Hopefully Mr. Turk will survive.