- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (AP) - An immigrant community center in New York state where 13 people were killed by a deranged former client will reopen eventually, the center’s executive director said Tuesday.

“Our return is not a question of if, but when,” said Andrew Baranoski, executive director of the American Civic Association.

The center will temporarily move its client services while work continues to repair and modify its headquarters in downtown Binghamton, Baranoski said. Over the next week or so, board members will visit four to six alternate sites and evaluate their accessibility, public transportation, parking and ability to protect the privacy of clients, he said.

There is no time frame for a return to the center, Baranoski said.

“Once we are able to do that (locating a temporary site), then we can start looking at getting resettled,” Baranoski said. “Many folks are most interested in returning to the facility. It is our home, and we want to return.”

Several organizations have offered space to the 70-year-old center, which helps immigrants learn English and obtain U.S. citizenship, as well as find housing, food, clothing, medical care and jobs, Baranoski said.

The center has been closed since 41-year-old Jiverly Wong killed 11 immigrants and two association employees on April 3. Wong killed himself as police rushed to the scene.

Police believe Wong, an immigrant from Vietnam and a former center student, was angry over losing a job and frustrated by his poor English-language skills. After the shootings, police revealed that Wong sent a rambling letter to a Syracuse television station complaining about supposed police harassment and blaming them for his problems.

After 10 days of funerals and vigils, Baranoski said, board members met Monday to discuss their options.

“We are all still grieving and still very affected by these events. This meeting was extraordinarily emotional for all of us,” Baranoski said. “As we emerge from this horrible episode, we will remember all those we have lost _ colleagues, students and friends. But our focus will still be on tomorrow. That’s our mission.”

Center officials are discussing whether to hold a ceremony to rededicate the center when they move back in and whether to establish a permanent memorial at the site, Baranoski said.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide