41 People Taken Hostage in Binghamton, N.Y
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – Gov. David Paterson says "12 or 13" people were killed in an attack on an immigration services center in Binghamton, N.Y.
A federal law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity also says the shooter has been found dead in the building.
Officials and media reports have said as many as 41 hostages were taken.
The law enforcement official says the gunman entered the building through the front while firing. He had already blocked the back door with his car.
Associated Press writer Devlin Barrett in Washington contributed to this report.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (AP) — A gunman walked into an immigration services center in downtown Binghamton on Friday, killing an unknown number of people, wounding at least six and taking as many as 41 hostage, officials said.
Two handguns were recovered at the scene, said a law enforcement official who was not authorized to speak publicly about the details of an ongoing hostage situation and was speaking on condition of anonymity.
Mayor Matthew Ryan told the Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin that the gunman had a high-powered rifle.
The FBI was sending hostage negotiators and an evidence response team to the scene. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was also sending agents to Binghamton.
The gunman barricaded the rear door of the American Civic Association with his car before entering through the front door, firing his weapon, the official said.
"We do know that a gunman entered the American Civic Association in Binghamton this morning and that there are fatalities," Gov. David Paterson said in a statement.
The Binghamton newspaper reported 41 hostages in the building of the American Civic Association and said apartments were being evacuated.
Emergency dispatchers were in contact with some people inside by phone, WBNG-TV reported. The gunman might still be in the building, the newspaper reported. The Binghamton SWAT team responded.
Indications were that the shooter was a young male, and it wasn't immediately clear whether he was still in the building, the law enforcement official said.
Five people with gunshot wounds were being treated at Wilson Medical Center in Johnson City, according to hospital spokeswoman Christina Boyd.
The wounded ranged in age from 20 to their mid-50s, and their conditions ranged from stable to critical, she said.
Linda Miller, a spokeswoman at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, confirmed that a student from Binghamton University was being treated at the emergency room.
A police dispatcher who spoke to the AP wouldn't confirm a number of people shot or injured.
Around 1 p.m., Pennie Kerber, 72, told the AP in a phone call from her home across the street that the scene appeared to be settling down.
"The cops are all standing around in the front now. They're still all over the roof for sure," she said. "The SWAT shooters that were to the side of the building look like they're not there any more. It looks like it's clearing."
The shooting occurred in a mixed neighborhood of homes and small businesses in the center of Binghamton, a city of about 47,000 located 140 miles northwest of New York City.
College student Leslie Shrager told the AP that she and her five housemates were sleeping when police pounded on the front door of their house next door to the shooting scene.
Officers escorted the six Binghamton University students outside, she said, and that's when they learned of the shooting.
"One of our housemates thought they heard banging of some kind. But when you're living in downtown Binghamton, it's always noisy," said Shrager, of Slingerlands, an Albany suburb. "Literally two minutes later the cops came and got us out."
The American Civic Association describes itself as helping immigrants and refugees with counseling, resettlement, citizenship, family reunification and translators.
It also intervenes with emergencies, including fighting, hunger and homelessness, according to information from the association's Web site.
At the junction of the Susquehanna and the Chenango rivers, the Binghamton area was the home to Endicott-Johnson shoe company and the birthplace of IBM, which between them employed tens of thousands of workers before the shoe company closed a decade ago and IBM downsized in recent years.
Unbelievable. My prayers go with those families.
Even more ammo for BO to pass the assault weapons ban.
yet another strong reason for concealed weapons permits.
Well, we need to get all the information before we go too far out on the ammunition for the Left branch.
My prayers go out to the families of those affected.
I sincerely hope this was NOT some despondent, poster boy white male with a history of "hanging around the wrong crowds" that got fed up one day and decided that the immigrants at this place were "the problem".
I REALLY hope his weapons were not legally owned....
This could be ugly.... And I agree rooster, one armed citizen with means to end the conflict would have been a God send for those people trapped in that building.
We need to track this story and publish any updates...
The shooter is reported to be Asian, 12-13 killed, including the shooter who took his own life. Motive here will be interesting, as well as whether the shooter was a citizen.
This is terrible. I hate it when events like this happen. I really want to know the motive and weather he was a legal citizen.
I wish I could trade spots with any one of those people in the building. I assure you there would be very few, if any, casualties.
First, there still would have been casualties because the attack was un-announced.
Then, if/when you got into position to do something about it, you would still have to live with that after math, no matter what happened in the next few moments.
Could you have been faster?
Could you have been more alert?
Could you have been on target quicker and saved "X" from happening?
That would be replayed about a million times for the rest of your life and that is outside the police questions, the media questions, the turning of your private life into a circus for the next three weeks to a couple of months.
I know what you are saying - because a lot of us feel the same way, but also there is a part of me that is glad it was somewhere else were I didn't have to get involved and subject my family to the many aftermath questions....
There has to be a way to put an end to this senseless gun violence.
My heart and prayers go out to the victims and their families.
I'm gonna think mental illness. I have been looking for more info, but the same comes up. This is very sad for the families and the community. The healing process will be long and difficult.
Apparently, he was an American citizen. I still hope his guns were illegal.
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