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4 Apr, 2009 12:16

Gunman kills 13 people in the US

A gunman has killed 13 people in a siege at an immigration centre in Binghamton, New York, before shooting himself dead. The man, who was Asian-American, had recently been sacked from computer company IBM.

Nearly 40 people managed to escape from the carnage in the building of the American Civic Association – an organization that helps immigrants settle in the US – but four were critically injured.

According to the Press Trust of India, Pakistani Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was carried out “in retaliation against US drone attacks in Pakistan.”

The PTI writes that the leader of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan said that ‘such attacks would continue’ to avenge missile strikes by US drones in tribal areas and ‘brutalities in Palestine’.

At about 10.30am local time, a gunman of an Asian descent entered the building and started shooting with a high-powered rifle. He barricaded the rear door of the building with his car before entering through the front door, firing his weapon.

The shooting took place in a room where immigrants were taking a citizenship exam.

Later the gunman apparently committed suicide.

The reasons behind his actions are still unclear. The killer is believed to be a Vietnamese immigrant. He carried ID with the name of 42-year-old Jiverly Voong. A law enforcement officer speaking on condition of anonymity said that was believed to be an alias.

Meanwhile, authorities have searched the home of the suspected gunman. Police carried out three computer hard drives, a brown canvas rifle case, a briefcase, a small suitcase and several paper bags.

This latest incident follows a shooting a week ago, when a gunman killed eight people in a North Carolina nursing home.

The country is pretty liberal with its gun control laws, allowing citizens to carry arms. It was feared that Barack Obama would overturn this law. As a result gun sales have soared since November last year.