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Gunman Kills 13 at US Immigration Center

U.S. authorities say a gunman killed 13 people before killing himself in an attack Friday at an immigration center in Binghamton, in the northeastern state of New York.

The local police chief, Joseph Zikuski, said 14 bodies were found in the building after the shooting. He said 37 people escaped unharmed and another four were hospitalized in critical condition.

The gunman was identified as Jiverly Voong, a 42-year-old Vietnamese immigrant from the nearby community of Johnson City. Police said he was recently fired from his job.

Police said the gunman parked a car blocking the back door of the American Civic Association before walking through the front door to start shooting. He shot two receptionists and then moved on to kill immigrants in a room where citizenship classes were being held.

One of the receptionists pretended to be dead and then called 911 for help.

Police said all of the dead were found in one room, except for a receptionist shot to death in the front hall.

President Barack Obama said he is "shocked and deeply saddened" by the incident.

New York Governor David Paterson told reporters it was a "tragic day for New York."

Police said 26 people took refuge in the basement of the building during the incident, staying in touch with police by cell phone.

The police chief said the shooter had ties with the civic association.

The Web site for the American Civic Association says the center provides a range of services to immigrants and refugees. The services include counseling and aid with resettlement, citizenship and family reunification.

Binghamton, New York, is a city of about 47,000 located some 225 kilometers northwest of New York City.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.