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13 killed in NY town shooting

At least 13 people were killed when a gunman opened fire in a service center for immigrants in the New York state town of Binghamton early this morning Beijing time, ABC News reported.

It said 26 people were wounded in the incident and others were believed to be still being held hostage.

The news director of WNBF radio told CNN up to 13 people may have been killed, citing police and other unnamed sources. WBNG television news said police confirmed 12 casualties.

Four people were removed from the American Civic Association building on stretchers and taken to hospitals, the Press & Sun-Bulletin newspaper reported on its Website.

A police special weapons and tactics team was on the scene and the shooter was still inside, police said.

Binghamton Mayor Matthew Ryan, who was at the scene, said the shooter had a high-powered rifle.

The FBI in Albany was providing help including agents skilled in hostage negotiation to what it said was a "rapidly developing situation," the FBI said in Washington.

"About 15 or so employees of the Civic Association came out crying with their hands behind their heads and they were escorted by the police to ambulances," a witness told WNBF radio.

Television coverage showed police armed with rifles, some carrying shields, deployed around the building. Police closed surrounding streets and locked down a high school, WBNG said.

As many as 41 people were inside the building when a man entered and started shooting, WBNG said, citing police scanners. It said some fled to a basement and more than a dozen were hiding in a closet, adding that emergency dispatchers had been in contact with people inside.

The American Civic Association building is used to teach English and provide other services to recently immigrants to the United States who are preparing for US citizenship.

Bob Joseph, the news director for WNBF radio, said in an interview with CNN that his sources described the shooter as an Asian man in his 20s, and that the shooter may have blocked the rear entrance to the building with a parked car.

Authorities requested a Vietnamese translator to speak with the shooter, according to the witness interviewed by WNBF.


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