A police car patrols in Brooklyn
A police car patrols in BrooklynAFP file

Four people were killed and two others wounded Wednesday when a gunman opened fire at two locations in the state of New York, local media reported, citing police.

Four people were shot at a hair salon in the town of Mohawk, two of whom were killed, and two others were shot dead at a car wash in nearby Herkimer, according to the local NBC affiliate WKTV and the Herkimer Telegram.

The two towns are about 360 kilometers (225 miles) north of New York City.

Police were searching for a suspect identified as 64-year-old Kurt Myers, who has gray hair and a beard, Herkimer police chief Joseph Malone told WKTV.

Police believe Myers set fire to his apartment, located near the hair salon, before embarking on the shooting spree, according to the Telegram. Firefighters needed 90 minutes to douse the blaze.

About a half-dozen firearms were found in the building, the report said.

Area schools and a university in Herkimer were placed on heightened alert and residents were warned to stay indoors and inform authorities if they saw anything unusual.

The latest shooting comes amid a national debate over gun laws in the United States, following the massacre of 26 people, including 20 children, at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut in December.