Gunmen opens fire on Immigrant Service Provider

Posted by admin on Apr 3rd, 2009


As many as 13 people have been shot dead and another 26 wounded in a shooting rampage inside an upstate New York civic association building that caters to immigrants, according to federal and state authorities.  The gunman, Jiverly Voong, held dozens of people hostage for several hours before shooting himself to death, police said. According to multiple state law enforcement officials, the gunman entered the one-story American Civic Association in downtown Binghamton about 10 a.m. today and began a shooting spree.

A senior law enforcement official told ABC News that 14 people, including the gunman, were shot dead and 26 wounded.

Voong, 41, also known as Linh Phat Voong, was from Johnson City, N.Y. He burst into the civic center wearing a bright green nylon jacket and dark-rimmed glasses. Voong’s body was found on first floor with a hunting knife jammed into the waistband of his pants.

Officials said Voong backed his car up to the rear door of the building to block any escape before he went to the front of the building and started to execute people.

Police officials said two weapons have been found. According to one police report a 9 millimeter pistol was recovered as SWAT team officers entered the building.

Several hours after the shooting began, hostages began exiting the building and police declared the gunman dead.

By 1:30 p.m. a number of persons were seen being escorted out of the building by police. But police at that time appeared to still be treating the situation as an active one with a shooter possibly still at large.

One of the first sights that greeted police officers when they entered the American Civic Association, an organization that helps immigrants, was a receptionist who had been shot in the head, police said.

Eye witness Nick Masucci, a community college student and Binghamton resident, said he watched as many as 20 people exit the building and get patted down by police.

“They look like immigrants, lots of different cultures coming out of there. Some people are getting patted down. The police are taking a lot of precautions, they’re still taking cover,” he said.

Several people were removed from the building on stretchers. Others left with their hands on their heads and were searched by police.

City councilman Martin Gerchman said he recently returned from the scene and said it looked like the building was “secure.”

Earlier today police called Broome Community College to find someone who could speak fluent Vietnamese to “assist police with translation,” said college spokesman Richard David.

Police, he said, did not indicated whether the translator, Professor Tuong Nguyen, was needed to speak with the shooter or with hostages, but believed the professor would be talking with the shooter.

Wilson Medical Center, the closest hospital to the site of the shootings, said three patients had been sent to its trauma center, one of them in critical condition.

One patient, according to a spokeswoman, had been brought to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.

“We’re on full alert anticipating we’re going to get additional casualties,” hospital spokeswoman Linda Miller said.

People were told in nearby buildings to stay away from windows and Binghamton High School is under a lock-down as police are using the school as a staging area. The school is a block and a half away from the shooting site.
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Ten ambulances were called to the scene and an FBI hostage rescue team is reportedly on the way.

“The FBI is providing assistance to the Binghamton Police Department,” FBI spokesman Rich Kolko said. “FBI Albany has sent Hostage Negotiators, Evidence Response Team and Command Post assistance. This is a rapidly developing situation and we refer you to the Binghamton Police Department for any additional information.”

The FBI and New York State Police sent hostage negotiators, evidence collection teams and investigators to support the efforts of the Binghamton police in securing the scene, collecting the evidence and guiding hostages and people who hid from the gunman to safety.

New York Gov. David Paterson said, “We are monitoring the situation and I have directed the State Police to assist the Binghamton Police Department in any way they can.”

At the time of the shooting the civic association was holding citizenship classes. 

Copyright 2009 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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