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Gunman shoots himself after killing 13 in New York state

A lone gunman, believed to be a Vietnamese immigrant, massacred 13 people at a citizenship center in New York state on Friday before apparently shooting himself, police said. The slayings took place on the main floor of the American Civic Association in Binghamton, 135 miles northwest of New York city.

world Updated: Apr 04, 2009 09:52 IST

American Civil Association buildingIn yet another massacre in the US, a lone gunman, believed to be a Vietnamese immigrant, shot dead 13 people in a three-minute shooting spree and then killed himself in a small town of Binghamton, about 250 kilometers from New York.

At least four people were seriously injured and were being treated in hospitals.

The rampage was premeditated as 41-year old man, unidentified by law enforcement sources as Jiverly Wong, backed his car into the backdoor of the single storey American Civil Association building to barricade it, walked through the front glass door, shot two receptionists, one of whom survived, and then entered the class room where immigrants were taking citizenship test and fired randomly.

"It obviously was premeditated. He barricaded the back door so nobody could get out. He was making sure nobody could escape," police chief, Joseph Zikuski said.

The surviving receptionist pretended to be dead and then crawled under the table to call police which arrived within three minutes but by that time the shooting was over.

Almost all the people killed were in the classroom. The motive was not clear and authorities were interviewing his family members and searching his house. Reports said a gun case, two hard drives and some other materials were removed from the house.

He was recently fired from IBM which could have given him the motive for the rampage were later denied as the company had no record that he was one of their employees.

US has a history of such shooting incidents. A heavily-armed gunman had shot dead eight people, many elderly and sick patients, in a North Carolina nursing home on March 29 this year. Six people had been shot dead in an apparent murder-suicide at a home in an upscale Silicon Valley neighborhood on March 30 this year.

This was the third major shooting to take place in the month of April. On April 16, 2007, a student had shot dead 33 people on the campus of Virginia Tech and earlier on April 20, 1999, two students had massacred 12 students and one teacher in the Columbine High School.

Binghamton, a town with population of 50,000 in upstate New York, was considered very safe and immigrants from several countries have made it their home.

As many as 37 people were rescued from the building. Some of them had taken shelter in the boiler room and others hid in closet to escape gunman's wrath.

The gunman's body was found with two pistols on it and satchel containing ammunition round his neck.

Wong was said to be familiar with the building of American Civic Association which provides numerous services to immigrants and one of his family members was quoted in media reports as saying that he had gone there to attend a class.