- The Washington Times - Friday, April 3, 2009

UPDATED:

Thirteen people were killed and five wounded Friday when a gunman entered an immigration center in Binghamton, N.Y., and began shooting.

The incident inside the American Civic Association building began at about 10:30 a.m. when the gunman entered the front door and began his attack, after reportedly barricading a back door. The gunman reportedly died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He is being described as a 42-year-old male from upstate New York. Binghamton is about 135 miles north of New York City.

“This is a tragic day for New York,” said New York Gov. David Paterson. “I speak for all of New York when I offer my prayers for the victims and families of this tragedy.”

Mr. Paterson made his statement at about 2:30 p.m., bringing some clarity to a confusing several hours in which news reports said as few as four people were injured and as many as 13 people were killed.

Police at about 1:45 p.m. brought two men from the building. They were led to police cruisers in plastic wrist restraints, witnesses said. However, they have not been identified as suspects.

The shootings come five days after a gunman killed eight people inside a Carthage, N.C.-nursing home and less than a month after a gunman entered a Maryville, Ill.-church and killed the pastor.

As many as 41 people were taken hostage Friday — 15 in a closet and 26 in the boiler room.

Among the first images from the scene were of local SWAT team members with high-powered rifles outside the building on a cool, gray afternoon. The FBI and state police were also at the scene.

“The FBI is providing assistance to the Binghamton Police Department,” said Special Agent Richard Kolko, chief of the bureau’s national press office. He said the agency’s Albany, N.Y., office sent hostage negotiators, an evidence-response team and command-post assistance.

According to the the American Civic Center’s Web site, the group was founded by a group of immigrants in 1939 and works to help other immigrants and refugees.

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