- The Washington Times - Monday, April 6, 2009

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (AP) - The receptionist who was badly wounded but still managed to call police when a gunman opened fire in an immigrant center remains fearful and rolls her eyes at being called a hero, her brother said Monday.

Shirley DeLucia continues to recover in a Binghamton hospital from gunshot wounds to the abdomen suffered when 41-year-old Jiverly Wong burst into the American Civic Association Friday morning and started shooting. Wong killed 13 people before taking his own life.

DeLucia’s brother said she is still anxious after surviving but he expects her to bounce back.

“The only thing that we know right now from her is when the gunman came in, she got up to ask him if she could help him and he just didn’t say anything I guess,” said Lyle Fassett. “He got his gun and shot her. She remembers falling backwards and down and that’s pretty much it. We haven’t gotten too much more out of her.”

Police have called her a hero for feigning death after being shot, then crawling under a desk to call 911 despite her injuries and staying on the line.

DeLucia is in stable condition and her doctor said she’ll make a full recovery.

Fassett said his sister hasn’t divulged much about what she remembers of that morning, including the death of co-worker Maria Zobniw.

“She did mention that she remembered her being shot and I think she knows that she’s gone,” Fassett said. “Beyond that I don’t know if she knows about any of the other people but I think she has a good idea. She hasn’t talked about it.”

Meanwhile, Wong’s sister said her brother was depressed about losing his job at a vacuum manufacturer and very frustrated with his poor English skills.

In an interview on NBC’s “Today” show Monday morning, Wong’s sister said she had “occasional communications” with him but they hadn’t lived in the same house together for 20 years. The woman, whose name wasn’t given during the interview, said her younger sibling kept his feelings to himself.

She could tell he was depressed about losing his job and frustrated with his English speaking skills, she said.

Her family is “very sorry for all the victims and their families,” she said.

Reached by The Associated Press in the hours immediately after the Friday shooting, the distraught woman initially thought there must be some mistake and that her brother was a victim, not the gunman. She declined to give the AP her name.

On Sunday, police defended the 43 minutes it took to enter the building after the first frantic 911 calls from terrified immigrants inside the center. Medical examiners told the district attorney that the injuries were so severe, none of the victims would have survived even if police had entered the building immediately.

Survivors reported huddling for hours in a basement, not knowing whether they were still in danger.

Four Chinese were among those killed, and a Chinese student was also shot in the arm and leg but survived, officials said. The other victims came from Haiti, Pakistan, the Philippines, Iraq, Brazil, Vietnam and the United States.

Wong was “an avid gunman” who had recently visited a firing range weekly, Zikuski said, but authorities still don’t know his motive. Authorities don’t know whether he had a particular target, and police Chief Joseph Zikuski said at a news conference the choice of targets may have been random.


Associated Press reporters Michael Hill, Carolyn Thompson, William Kates and John Kekis contributed to this report.

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