A law enforcement official checks vehicles in a parking lot behind the American Civic Association in Binghamton, N.Y., where a gunman opened fire Friday, killing 13 people and himself.
NBC News and news services
updated 50 minutes ago
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - A gunman walked into an immigrant services center and opened fire on Friday, killing 13 people before he killed himself, police said. Another four people were in critical condition.
The suspected gunman carried identification with the name of 42-year-old Jiverly Voong of nearby Johnson City, N.Y., a law enforcement official said. But the name is an alias that the man has used in the past, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly and was talking on condition of anonymity.
"It obviously was premeditated," said Binghamton Police Chief Joseph Zikuski, noting the gunman blocked the rear exit with his car. "He made sure nobody could escape."
Earlier, the number of dead had been variously put at 12 to 16 by Gov. David Paterson and law enforcement officials.
At a news conference, Zikuski said a receptionist who was the first person shot survived by pretending she was dead, and was able to call 911. Another receptionist was killed.
The gunman then moved to a room inside the American Civic Association and shot dead 12 people before killing himself, Zikuski said. A man found with ammunition around his neck was believed to be the gunman, he added.
As soon as the shooting started, 26 people hid in the boiler room and by the end of the siege 37 people were safely removed from the building, Zikuski said.
Zikuski said police were still trying to confirm the name of the gunman, but had reason to believe he was "no stranger" to the immigrant services center.
Gov. Paterson said he spoke for all of New York in offering "my prayers for the victims and families of this tragedy," which began when the gunman used his car to block the back door of the services center, walked in the front door and opened fire.
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Rep. Maurice Hinchey, whose district includes Binghamton, said the gunman appears to have been a man who was recently let go from IBM in Johnson City.
Mayor Matthew Ryan initially said the gunman had a high-powered rifle but law-enforcement sources later told NBC that he had actually used two handguns.
The receptionist who called 911 described the gunman as a man in his 20s between 5 feet, 8 inches, and 6 feet tall, wearing a bright green nylon jacket and dark-rimmed glasses.
Police locked down a nearby high school and advised local business owners to stay inside.
Binghamton, with a population around 45,000, is about 150 miles northwest of New York City. The American Civic Association helps immigrants in the area with naturalization applications, counseling, resettlement, citizenship, family reunification and translators.
Mary Pat Hyland, who teaches classes at the center, told MSNBC that many of the immigrants served there are from Vietnam and Laos. "We have a very diverse ethnic area," she said.
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.”
Redeemer Lutheran Church in Binghamton planned a prayer vigil on Friday night for those affected by the shooting.