|Non-fatal injuries 4|
Name Binghamton shootings
|Start date April 3, 2009|
|Location Binghamton, New York, United States|
Weapons 9mm Beretta 92FS Vertec InoxBeretta Px4 Storm .45 caliber
Deaths 14 (including the perpetrator)
Perpetrator Jiverly Antares Wong (aka Jiverly Voong)
Attack type Mass murder, Murder–suicide
Similar Luby's shooting, Oikos University shooting, San Ysidro McDonald's massacre, Northern Illinois University, Washington Navy Yard shooting
Police: 14 Killed in Immigrant Center Shooting
The Binghamton shootings took place on April 3, 2009, at the American Civic Association immigration center in Binghamton, New York, United States. At approximately 10:30 a.m. EDT, Jiverly Antares Wong (also known as Jiverly Voong), a 41-year-old naturalized American citizen from Vietnam, entered the facility and shot numerous people inside. Wong had taken English language classes there from January to March 2009 before dropping out.
- Police 14 Killed in Immigrant Center Shooting
- Police response
- Personal life
- Possible motives
- Package mailed to TV station
- Text of letter
Wong shot a teacher and students from his former classroom. The shooter killed 13 people and wounded four others before committing suicide. It was one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history and the worst mass killing in the state of New York since the September 11 attacks.
At about 10:30 a.m. EDT, Jiverly Wong barricaded the rear door of the Binghamton American Civic Association building with a vehicle registered in his father's name. He was described as wearing a bullet-proof vest, a bright green nylon jacket, and dark-rimmed glasses.
Wong entered through the front door, firing a number of bullets at people in his path. At 10:30 a.m. Broome County Communications received several 911 calls, and the first police were dispatched to the scene. Two of the Civic Association's receptionists were among the first victims shot. While one of the receptionists was reported to have been shot through the head and killed, the second, shot in the stomach, feigned death and, when the gunman moved on, took cover under a desk and called 911. The receptionist's call was taken by 911 staff at 10:38 a.m. The wounded receptionist, 61-year-old Shirley DeLucia, remained on the line for 39 minutes, despite her gunshot wound, and relayed information until she was rescued. She later recounted that the gunman had opened fire without saying anything.
The gunman entered a classroom just off the main reception areas, where an ESL class was being given to students. Out of the 16 people in the room, Wong hit 13 of them, including the professor. He then took dozens of other students hostage. Police arrived within minutes of the 911 calls; when Wong heard the sirens, he shot himself at 10:33 a.m., three minutes after he first opened fire. In all, Wong fired 99 rounds; 88 from a 9mm Beretta and 11 from a .45-caliber Beretta.
Police remained at the perimeter of the property, having locked down nearby Binghamton High School and a number of streets in the area. At one point, not knowing if the gunman was alive or dead, police summoned Broome Community College Assistant Professor Tuong Hung Nguyen, who is fluent in Vietnamese, to help communicate with Wong in the event of contact.
SWAT members entered the Civic Center building and began clearing it at 11:13 a.m.—43 minutes after the first call to the police at 10:30 a.m., and 40 minutes after patrol officers first arrived on the scene at 10:33 a.m. At the time of their entry, they had not yet confirmed that Wong had committed suicide, and they proceeded with caution. At approximately 12:00 noon, ten people left the building, with another ten following approximately forty minutes later. Some of the hostages had escaped to a basement, while more than a dozen remained hidden in a closet. Thanh Huynh, a high school teacher of Vietnamese background, was asked to translate so the Vietnamese survivors could be interviewed by the police.
Wong was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, in the first-floor classroom with his victims. Items found on Wong's body included a hunting knife, in the waistband of his pants; a bag of ammunition, which was tied around his neck; and two semi-automatic pistols (a .45-caliber Beretta Px4 Storm and a 9mm Beretta 92FS Vertec Inox, matching the serial numbers on his New York State pistol license). Also found at the scene were a number of unspent magazines, at least two empty magazines with a 30-round capacity each, and a firearm laser sight.
By 2:33 p.m., SWAT had completed the clearing of the building, and all those inside had been evacuated.
Jiverly Antares Wong (December 8, 1967 – April 3, 2009), a resident of Johnson City, New York, was identified as the perpetrator of the shootings.
Wong was born into an ethnic Chinese (Hoa) family in South Vietnam. He and his parents, Henry Voong and Mui Thong, immigrated to New York in the late 1980s; he moved to California some time later. In 1992, Wong was arrested there and convicted of a misdemeanor charge of fraud for forgery. Wong became a naturalized American citizen in November 1995; the following year, he registered a gun in Broome County, New York. Sometime after that, he left the United States to live in Ottawa, Ontario in Canada.
He returned to the U.S., taking up residence in Inglewood, California in December 1999. In California, Wong registered another gun. While living there, Wong married and later divorced Xiu Ping Jiang. The couple had no children. Wong worked for almost seven years as a delivery man for Kikka Sushi, a catering company located in Los Angeles.
Wong failed to show up to work one day in July 2007, having moved to Binghamton, New York that month, near his parents. Later, he called the company to get a copy of his W-2 earnings statement in 2008, asking that it be forwarded to a New York state address. Although early reports suggested Wong had recently lost his job at a local IBM plant in nearby Endicott, New York, IBM said they had no records showing Wong had ever worked for the company. Wong worked at a local Shop-Vac vacuum cleaner plant until it closed in November 2008.
Wong had been taking English classes at the center, beginning in January 2009 and continuing through March. His attendance was intermittent, and he stopped coming altogether. He shot the students and teacher in the classroom where he had formerly attended sessions.
Several sources suggested possible motives for Wong's attack, including feelings of being "degraded and disrespected" for his poor English language skills, depression over losing his job, and difficulty in finding work in New York. A few years before the killings, he had worked as an engineer at Endicott Interconnect Technologies, a high-tech electronics company. In 2004, the company laid off five percent of its workforce. A coworker from that time said of him, "He was quiet—not a violent person" and "I can't believe he would do something like this". Press TV noted that Taliban leader Baituallah Mehsud claimed responsibility for the shootings, stating, "They were my men. I gave them orders in reaction to US drone attacks." However, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation discounted the claim as inconsistent with their evidence that Wong was a lone gunman.
The Binghamton Police Chief Joseph Zikuski said, "From the people close to him ... this action he took was not a surprise to them." Wong had allegedly made comments such as "America sucks" and talked about assassinating U.S. President Barack Obama to his former coworkers at Shop Vac.
Package mailed to TV station
Several days after the incident, an envelope was received by the Syracuse, New York, TV station News 10 Now dated March 18, 2009 and postmarked April 3, 2009, the day of the shootings. The three stamps used for the postage were a Liberty Bell and two Purple Hearts.
The package contained a two-page handwritten letter; photos of Wong, holding guns while smiling; a gun permit; and Wong's driver's license. In the letter, he mentioned some motives, but most of the content is a rambling, paranoid accusation of perceived police misconduct and persecution of him, especially through "secret" visits to his residences.
Text of letter
Following is the verbatim text of Wong's letter to News 10 Now (it includes his errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation). The two-page letter was handwritten, using (nearly) all capital letters. While it was not signed, authorities believe that it was written by Wong.
During this incident, Wong killed 13 people and critically wounded four. An account of each of the victims was published in The New York Times on April 6, 2009.
The injured were treated for gunshot wounds at Wilson Medical Center in Johnson City and Our Lady of Lourdes Memorial Hospital in Binghamton.