14 killed in US hostage drama
New York, April 4, 2009
A gunman massacred 14 people last night at a US immigration centre before taking at least 20 hostages, then apparently turning the gun on himself.
The tragedy began when the gunman entered the American Civic Association building in Binghamton, 217km northwest of New York city, according to a report in our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News.
After opening fire the gunman holed himself up with hostages in the centre, where help is given to new immigrants and would-be citizens.
Heavily armed police, backed by commandos, swarmed into the area.
Two people were later taken out of the building during the standoff with their hands secured behind their backs, local media reported, but it was not clear whether these were suspects or had been detained as a precaution.
The local Press and Sun-Bulletin newspaper reported that 41 hostages were in the building - 15 in a closet and 26 in the boiler room. The suspected gunman carried identification with the name of 42-year-old Jiverly Voong of nearby Johnson City, New York, a law enforcement official said.
Thirty-seven people were rescued, four of them critically injured, police said Friday.
Police were called by the first woman shot by the gunman, a receptionist who was shot in the stomach but pretended to be dead until she was able to make an escape.
The gunman entered the building and immediaty shot her and another receptionist, witnesses said. He then went into another room and shot several more people.
The incident comes days before the second anniversary of a massacre at Virginia Tech - the deadliest school shooting in US history in which 32 students and professors were shot dead by a student gunman - and weeks before the 10th anniversary of the Columbine, Colorado school shooting.