14 Dead After Gunman Opens Fire

Four people were critically wounded in the massacre and 37 others escaped, including 26 who hid for hours in a basement boiler room while police tried to determine whether the gunman was still alive and whether he was holding any hostages, Binghamton Police Chief Joseph Zikuski said.

Brian Mann reports for North Country Public Radio.

Police Search For Motive In Deadly N.Y. Rampage

American Civic Association building. Stan Honda/Getty Images i i

Police and investigators secure the area outside the American Civic Association building where a gunman killed 13 people and himself April 3, 2009, in Binghamton, New York. Stan Honda/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Stan Honda/Getty Images
American Civic Association building. Stan Honda/Getty Images

Police and investigators secure the area outside the American Civic Association building where a gunman killed 13 people and himself April 3, 2009, in Binghamton, New York.

Stan Honda/Getty Images

Police continued Saturday to search for an explanation for a deadly shooting rampage at an immigrant services center in Binghamton, N.Y., that left 14 people dead on Friday.

Authorities believe the murderer is among those who died. He apparently committed suicide after opening fire with a pair of handguns at the American Civic Association, where immigrants come to learn English and network for jobs.

Four people were critically wounded in the massacre and 37 others escaped, including 26 who hid for hours in a basement boiler room while police tried to determine whether the gunman was still alive and whether he was holding any hostages, Binghamton Police Chief Joseph Zikuski said.

At a news conference Friday, Zikuski said the gunman had not been positively identified, but one deceased man was found wearing a satchel containing ammunition. Two handguns were found at the crime scene.

The shooter is believed to be an Asian-American who carried identification with the name of 42-year-old Jiverly Wong of nearby Johnson City, N.Y., but that was believed to be an alias, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press. Police say he had some connection to the center, but they haven't speculated about a possible motive.

The gunman parked his car against the back door Friday morning before barging through the front and opening fire, apparently without saying a word. He shot two receptionists, killing one; the second receptionist, critically injured with a gunshot wound to the abdomen, crawled under a desk and called police, Zikulski said.

The receptionist stayed on the phone for 90 minutes, "feeding us information constantly" despite her wounds, the police chief said. "She's a hero in her own right."

After shooting the receptionists, the gunman then entered a room just off the reception area and fired on a citizenship class while terrified people scrambled into a boiler room and a storage room, police said.

"I heard the shots, every shot. I heard no screams, just silence, shooting," said 30-year-old Zhanar Tokhtabayeva from Kazakhstan who was in an English class when her teacher screamed for everyone to go to the storage room. "I heard shooting, very long time, and I was thinking, when will this stop? I was thinking that my life was finished."

Police arrived in minutes, heard no gunfire and waited for about an hour before entering the building to make sure it was safe for officers. They then spent two hours searching the building. They led a number of men out in plastic handcuffs while trying to sort out victims from the killer or killers.

Friday evening, families and survivors gathered at the Catholic Charities headquarters a few blocks away from the immigrant center. They came hoping for information and comfort, but spokeswoman Marsha Maroney said it was a painful vigil.

There is "more and more worry as the day goes on because these people have been waiting a long time and we still don't have the names of the victims," she said.

With reporting from Brian Mann in Binghamton and Linton Weeks in Washington, D.C. Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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