Gunman felt 'degraded' by poor English

April 4, 2009 at 11:23 PM   |   Comments

BINGHAMTON, N.Y., April 4 (UPI) -- The man suspected of killing 13 people and taking his own life in Binghamton, N.Y., felt "degraded" by his bad English, family members told police.

Police Chief Joseph Zikuski said at a Saturday news conference that Jiverly A. Wong lived outside Binghamton with his parents and sister, the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin reported. He had gone to the American Civic Association for English classes but stopped last month, the chief said.

Motor vehicles records showed Wong had trouble with his hearing, which could have contributed to his language problems, the newspaper said.

Zikuski said Wong was wearing body armor Friday when he drove to the center, suggesting he might have planned a shootout with police. Instead, he shot himself as police, sirens blaring, approached the building.

"He must have been a coward. He decided to end his own life," Zikuski said, referring to the gunman's apparent reaction to approaching police sirens.

The identities of Wang's victims had yet to be released.

Zikuski praised one of four people were hospitalized in critical condition with gunshots -- a receptionist who used her cell phone to call police after she was shot in the stomach.

"She's a heroine, and I believe she saved some lives," the police official said. "It is my understanding that as of very early this morning that she is going to make it."

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