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By RICHARD ESPOSITO, PIERRE THOMAS, RUSSELL GOLDMAN and SCOTT MICHELS
April 3, 2009
As many as 13 people have been shot dead and wounded dozens in a shooting rampage inside an upstate New York civic association building that caters to immigrants, according to federal and state authorities.
In this photo rendered from video and released by WBNG-TV in Binghamton, N.Y., authorities remove a...
In this photo rendered from video and released by WBNG-TV in Binghamton, N.Y., authorities remove a person on a stretcher, Friday, April 3, 2009, in Binghamton, N.Y. At least four people were shot and as many as 41 people taken hostage Friday morning at an immigration services center in western New York state, according to media reports.
(WBNG-TV, via AP)
More PhotosThe gunman, Jiverly Voong, allegedly held dozens of people hostage for several hours before shooting himself to death, police said.
According to multiple state law enforcement officials, the gunman entered the one-story American Civic Association in downtown Binghamton about 10 a.m. today and began a shooting spree.
A senior law enforcement official told ABC News that 13 people were shot dead and 26 were wounded.
Voong, 41, also known as Linh Phat Voong, was from Johnson City, N.Y. He allegedly burst into the civic center wearing a bright green nylon jacket and dark-rimmed glasses. Voong's body was found on first the floor with a hunting knife jammed into the waistband of his pants.
"He shot those people? No. No," said a woman who identified herself as Voong's sister, but would not give her name when reached by ABC News.com.
PHOTOS: Images From the Binghamton Shooting 'Miracle' Recovery Credited to Former PopeEight Dead After Shooting at N.C. Nursing HomeShe said her brother went to take classes today at the civic association and that she had not heard from him since. She said she did not know that he was involved in the shooting.
"I'm going to pass out," she said and hung up the phone.
Police also contacted Voong's sister to say her brother was dead. She told police that Voong was attending language classes at the civic center. She said Voong is a U.S. citizen and has been in this country for 28 years.
Officials said Voong backed his car up to the rear door of the building to block any escape before he went to the front of the building and started to execute people.
Police officials said two weapons have been found. According to one police report a 9 millimeter pistol was recovered as SWAT team officers entered the building.
Several hours after the shooting began, hostages started exiting the building and police declared the gunman dead.
By 1:30 p.m., a number of people were seen being escorted out of the building by police. But police at that time appeared to be still treating the situation as an active one with a shooter possibly still at large.
One of the first sights that greeted police officers when they entered the American Civic Association, an organization that helps immigrants, was a receptionist, who had been shot in the head, police said.
why are there so many shootings?