Gunman Kills 13, Himself at Upstate New York Immigrant Center

A gunman blocked the rear door of an upstate New York immigration center, then walked through the front door and opened fire Friday, killing 14 people, likely including himself, police said at a news conference in the massacre's aftermath.

Binghamton Police Chief Joseph Zikuski said the rampage "obviously was premeditated" and began with the shooting of two receptionists. One died. The other was critically wounded, but she pretended to be dead and was able to crawl to a desk and call 911 when the gunman walked down a hallway.

Immigrants were preparing for citizenship testing at the time. Zikuski said 37 people were rescued from the building, and four of them were wounded and in critical condition. More than two dozen had hid in a boiler room until police said it was safe to come out.

The gunman reportedly was a 41-year-old man of Asian descent and lived in the Binghamton suburb of Johnson City. The man was carrying identification with the name Jiverly Voong, a local law enforcement official told The Associated Press — though there were conflicting reports of his age, and officials would not identify the shooter during the news conference.

The ID name Jiverly Voong was believed to be an alias, said a law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A second law enforcement official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said the two handguns were registered to Jiverly Wong, another name the man used. Both officials were not authorized to speak publicly.

Later Friday, authorities searched the home of the suspected gunman and carried out three computer hard drives, a brown canvas rifle case, a briefcase, a small suitcase and several paper bags.

Police did not mention a motive. U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, whose district includes Binghamton, said the gunman had recently been let go from IBM in Johnson City. He said it was not clear of the gunman's connection to the center. IBM couldn't immediately confirm that.

People attend a candle light vigil Friday at Redeemer Lutheran Church in memory of the victims.

The shooter had blocked the back door of the building with his car, then stormed in through the front entrance about 10:30 a.m. while firing a high-powered gun. Several people were taken hostage.

The gunman wore a bright green nylon jacket and dark-rimmed glasses as he executed victim after victim, according to local media. His body was found on the first floor of the American Civic Association.

The man believed to have carried out the attack was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound in an office, a satchel containing ammunition slung around his neck, authorities said. Police found two handguns — a 9mm and a .45-caliber — and a hunting knife.

Click here for photos.

Click here for taped video from the scene from the Binghamton Press Sun & Bulletin.

Zhanar Tokhtabayeva, a 30-year-old from Kazakhstan, said she was in an English class when she heard a shot and her teacher screamed for everyone to go to the storage room.

"I heard the shots, every shot. I heard no screams, just silence, shooting," she said. "I heard shooting, very long time ... and I was thinking, when will this stop? I was thinking that my life was finished."

A woman who answered the phone at a listing for Henry D. Voong said she was Jiverly Voong's sister but would not give her name.

Asked if she was aware that he might have been involved in the shooting, she said: "How? He didn't have a gun. I think somebody involved, not him. I think he got shot by somebody else."

"I think there's a misunderstanding over here because I want to know, too," she said.

The suspected gunman carried identification with the name of Jiverly Voong, a law enforcement official said.

"This is a community that comes together in crisis," Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan said at the news conference, while expressing grief at the tragedy and gratitude for the response of authorities.

Gov. David Paterson said he hoped the investigation into what he described as a "senseless act of violence" would be brought to a resolution.

"We all have a profound sense of sorrow," the governor said.

President Obama expressed sympathy for the victims and their families and vowed to monitor the situation in a statement released late Friday afternoon.

"Michelle and I were shocked and deeply saddened to learn about the act of senseless violence in Binghamton, N.Y. today," he said. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, their families and the people of Binghamton."

U.S. senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said in a joint statement that "our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and their families. We ... will do everything we can to help."

SWAT team officers surrounded the building but it took about four hours to secure the scene, officials said Friday afternoon.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was also sending agents to Binghamton.

While the tragedy was unfolding, emergency dispatchers were in contact with some people inside by phone, officials said.

Twenty-six people escaped to the building's boiler room, officials said.

Alex Galkin, an immigrant from Uzbekistan, said he was taking his English classes when he heard a shot and quickly went to the basement with 20 other people.

"It was just panic," Galkin said.

Police locked down a nearby high school, evacuated apartment buildings and advised local business owners to stay inside.

The FBI sent hostage negotiators and an evidence response team to the scene.

The American Civic Association helps immigrants in the Binghamton area with naturalization applications, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The association describes itself as helping immigrants and refugees with counseling, resettlement, citizenship, family reunification and translators.

The association's president, Angela Leach, "is very upset right now," said Mike Chanecka, a friend who answered a call at her home as Leach wept in the background.

"She doesn't know anything; she's as shocked as anyone," Chanecka said. "For some reason, she had the day off today. And she's very worried about her secretary."

The American Civic Association said in a statement it shares "this grief with the victims' families, our community and the entire nation." The Binghamton center says it's aiding authorities in the investigation of the shooting.

Two women and a man suffering gunshot wounds were being treated at Wilson Medical Center in Johnson City, said hospital spokeswoman Christina Boyd. One was stable, one was serious and one was critical. Their ages ranged from 20s to 50s, she said.

Linda Miller, a spokeswoman at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, said a student from Binghamton University was being treated there.

The shooting occurred in a mixed neighborhood of homes and small businesses in the center of Binghamton, a city of about 47,000 located 140 miles northwest of New York City.

At the junction of the Susquehanna and the Chenango rivers, the Binghamton area was the home to Endicott-Johnson shoe company and the birthplace of IBM, which between them employed tens of thousands of workers before the shoe company closed a decade ago and IBM downsized in recent years.'s Catherine Donaldson-Evans and The Associated Press contributed to this report.