JERUSALEM -- A New York man who was fired from a hotel in the Israeli resort town of Eilat on Thursday returned to the hotel on Friday morning and opened fire, killing a kitchen worker before being shot dead by police officers, the authorities said.
The gunman, whom the police identified as William Hershkovitz, 23, had arrived in Israel on Aug. 27 for a five-month program known as Masa that combines travel and Hebrew study with internships in Eilat hotels. Yuval Arad, a spokesman for the program, said Mr. Hershkovitz was told Thursday that he had to leave the program and decide by next week whether to return home or to remain in Israel with relatives.
"There was some problems with his attitude and with the hotel staff," said Mr. Arad, declining to elaborate. Another official with the program, Ofer Gutman, told The Associated Press that Mr. Hershkovitz "was a normal guy," adding, "There was nothing that indicated what would happen in the end."
Eitan Gedasi, deputy police commander of Eilat, told Israel Radio that a call came in about a shooting at the hotel, the Leonardo Club, around 9 a.m. after a man grabbed a pistol from a hotel security guard.
"The man surprised the security guard and threw him on the ground," Mr. Gedasi said. "A civilian who saw this tried to help, but the man managed to get away with the weapon towards the kitchen."
Micky Rosenfeld, an Israeli police spokesman, said Mr. Hershkovitz fired several shots in the dining area before storming into the kitchen, where he killed a 33-year-old cook, Armando Abed, from the Arab Christian town of Miliya, in Galilee. The shots fired in the dining room did not strike anyone.
Mr. Hershkovitz then "barricaded himself in the kitchen," raising police fears of a hostage situation. About 10:15 a.m., antiterror units from the Israeli Defense Forces "moved in on the suspect, and he opened fire again," Mr. Rosenfeld said.
It turned out that no hostages had been taken, Mr. Rosenfeld said. Two women were treated for shock afterward, he added.
Mr. Arad said Mr. Hershkovitz was from Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Masa, which is partially financed by the Jewish Agency for Israel, brings thousands of young people to Israel each year for lengthy stays combining tourism, study and work, he said. It is operated by Oranim, an educational tourism provider. Mr. Hershkovitz was one of 80 Masa participants living and working in Eilat hotels, Mr. Arad said.
The Jewish Agency said after the shooting that it had appointed a committee to investigate the circumstances under which Mr. Hershkovitz had been accepted to the program. The shooting occurred during the holiday of Sukkot, when Israeli schools and many offices are closed. It is one of the busiest weeks of the year in Eilat, and the 282-room Leonardo Club, which caters to families with all-inclusive packages and a water park, was fully booked.
Guests at the hotel described the mayhem that erupted after the assailant argued with a security guard in the lobby and took his weapon. "I was sitting in the lobby and reading a newspaper," one guest, Eli Zmor, told Maariv, a daily newspaper in Israel. "I heard screaming and I saw someone jump on the security guard. I saw him take the security guard's gun and start shooting all over."
Another, Nissim Rubin, said he tried to stop the gunman. "I went out, jumped on the assailant and we both fell to the floor," he told Maariv. He said guests were terrified when the gunman started shooting. "Panic erupted and people took cover beneath the tables," Mr. Rubin said.
Hotel workers and the police told guests to return to their rooms and lock the doors. Once told that it was safe to come out, people emerged "happy, clapping," another guest, Michal Bouaron, told Israel's Channel 2.
"We won't let this ruin our day and our vacation," she added.
Irit Pazner Garshowitz and Jonathan Rosen contributed reporting.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.