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4 shot, hostages taken in Binghamton, N.Y.

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BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - At least four people were shot and dozens were taken hostage Friday at an immigration services center, according to officials and news reports. NBC's Pete Williams cited city and state officials as saying that as many 13 people might have been killed. But Williams cautioned that the information was very preliminary and may change as the hours go by because police were still searching the building.

At least 41 people were in the American Civic Association building at the time of the shooting, The Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin reported.

Four people were removed from the building on stretchers and taken to hospitals, and 10 more ambulances were called, the newspaper reported. The condition of those shot was not immediately clear.A man went into the group's building and started shooting, according to police scanner traffic reported by WBNG-TV.

The gunman had a high-powered rifle, Mayor Matthew Ryan told the newspaper.

Some later left building

When the shooting started, people escaped to the basement in search of safety. More than a dozen people were hiding in a closet for more than an hour.

Some people were later escorted out of the building, WBGH reporter Sophia Ojeda said.

The American Civic Association's Web site says it helps immigrants and refugees with counseling, resettlement, citizenship, family reunification, interpreters, and translators.

The suspect was described as a man in his 20s between 5 feet, 8 inches, and 6 feet tall, wearing a bright green nylon jacket and dark-rimmed glasses.

School locked down

Police have locked down a nearby high school and advised local business owners to stay inside.

Rich Griffith, who works across the street from the hostage scene, said he saw three people carried out of the building on stretchers alive and moving.

Linda Miller, a spokeswoman at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, confirmed that a student from Binghamton University was being treated at the emergency room. Miller said she didn't know the nature of the injuries.

"We're on full alert anticipating we're going to get additional casualties," Miller said.

Binghamton, with a population around 45,000, is about 150 miles northwest of New York City.

about an hour drive from my house


                                               Look at the flowers

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