Friday, April 3, 2009
A gunman attacked a downtown Binghamton, New York-based immigration services center today, killing up to 13 people before killing himself.
New York Governor David Paterson at a news conference indicated that 12 or 13 people were killed at the American Civic Association. It is unclear whether or not the attacker was included in the number of the deceased.
An anonymous law enforcement official indicated the presumed gunman’s body was found in an office of the immigration services center building. The attacker blocked the rear building door with his car and entered through the front door. He then opened fire.
The gunman held over 40 hostages, some in a closet and the rest in the boiler room. Police and EMS started arriving at 10:30 A.M (EDT). SWAT sharpshooters and the Endicott police bomb squad were called to the scene. Nearby residencies and businesses were evacuated, while a nursing home and the high school were placed on lockdown. FBI hostage negotiators and evidence response team were being sent to the scene. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents were headed to Binghamton. About noon, the shooter released ten hostages, then another ten out the back 40 minutes later. At 2:40 p.m., the local police said the standoff had ended and a SWAT team was checking the building for anyone remaining.
In Johnson City, Wilson Medical Center staff are treating three to five gunshot wounds, while Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton is treating a single such case. Both hospitals called in additional staff and cancelled all elective surgeries.
A national law enforcement source identified the shooter as 42-year-old Jiverly Voong. The police asked Broome Community College Assistant Professor Tuong Hung Nguyen, a fluent Vietnamese speaker, to translate for discussions between police and Voong.