BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — The man who gunned down 13 people in an immigrant center thought police had harassed him for years, even spreading rumors about him and touching him in his sleep, and apparently was intent on killing people before returning "to the dust of the earth," according to a rambling letter mailed to a TV station the day of the massacre.
Authorities did not immediately say Monday if they had verified the letter's authenticity, but the city of Binghamton said it was reviewing it as "evidence in the investigation." The letter was mailed to News 10 Now, in Syracuse, and postmarked Friday, the day Vietnamese immigrant Jiverly Wong stormed into the American Civic Association and went on a rampage before killing himself.
"I am Jiverly Wong Shooting the people," the letter begins.
The letter was dated March 18, more than two weeks before the shooting. It included photos of Wong smiling with two guns, a gun permit and his driver's license. The envelope carried three stamps: two Purple Hearts and a Liberty Bell.
The letter ends with him saying he can't "accept my poor life," that he is taking on the job of a judge and will "cut my poor life." He writes "at least two people with me go to return to the dust of the earth."
Police speculated Wong, who was ethnically Chinese but was from Vietnam, was angry over losing a job and frustrated about his poor English skills.
The letter reads, "I am sorry I know a little English."
Tale of harassment
It indicates a delusional man obsessed with unidentified police he says taunted him and tortured him, even going into his room, watching him sleep and touching him while he slept. The letter says police stole money from his wallet and stopped their cars in front of him 32 times in efforts to make him crash into them.
"I never hit the car," the letter states.
In a statement, the city of Binghamton, which is about 140 miles northwest of New York City, said it was reviewing the letter as evidence in the investigation.
Police Chief Joseph Zikuski told the TV station police would be asking mental-health professionals to analyze the letter. He said behavioral experts from the FBI suggested "something like this might happen."
"It's not a complete surprise to us whatsoever," he said.
News 10 Now said it received the letter Monday.
In staccato bursts, the letter writer strings together a tale of police harassment following him from California to New York.
"Many time from 1990 to 1997 at the day time ... cop exploit unknow English and went to my house knock the door for harass and domineer," it reads. "Of course during that time cop coined something was not true about me and spread a rumour nasty like the California cop."
Wong, 41, spent several years in California, where in 1992 he was arrested on a bad-check charge. It was in California, where he drove a truck, that he divorced his wife, Xiu Ping Jiang, in 2006. He returned to Binghamton the next year.
The writer expresses frustration over losing his job at a vacuum manufacturer.
"Right now I still get unemploment benefit of the company Shop Vac Endicott," he says. "New York State Department of Labor was cheat and unpaid from December 1st 2008 to December 28th 2008 I already claim weekly benefit from that date."
'Have a nice day'
The letter contained photos of Wong sitting in what looks like an institutional kitchen. In one, he points a gun toward the ceiling. In another, he sits at a table holding a cup, two guns resting within inches of his left elbow. In a third, he stands in front of a kitchen island bar, bar stools behind him and his arms folded defiantly across his chest, a gun in each hand.
The package mailed to the TV station included Wong's pistol permit, which describes him as 5-foot-8 and 135 pounds. It lists six guns, four of which are crossed out: two Ruger .45-calibers, a Glock 9 mm and a Springfield 9 mm. Two Berettas are not crossed out: a 9 mm and a .45-caliber. Police say Wong used a 9 mm and a .45-caliber in the shootings.
The letter rambles disjointedly.
"Let talk about when I live in California," it reads. "Such as...cop used 24 hours the technique of ultramodern and camera for burn the chemical in my house. For switch the channel time ... For adjust the fan. For made me unbreathable. For made me vomit. For connect the music into my ear."
There are passages of pure politeness: "Please continue second page thank you," the writer instructs.
But the letter ends with dark foreboding.
"Any way I can not accepted my poor life. Before I cut my poor life I must oneself get a judge job for make an impartial with undercover cop by at least two people with me go to return to the dust of earth.
"Already impartial now..cop bring about this shooting. cop must responsible."
The letter, neatly written in capital letters, ends with: "And you have a nice day."
Meanwhile, the wounded receptionist who called police during the massacre remembers little after being shot and rolls her eyes at being labeled a hero, her brother said.
Shirley DeLucia is recovering in a Binghamton hospital from gunshot wounds to the abdomen suffered when the 41-year-old Wong burst into the American Civic Association Friday morning and started shooting.
DeLucia's brother said she is still anxious after surviving but he expects her to bounce back.
"The only thing that we know right now from her is when the gunman came in, she got up to ask him if she could help him and he just didn't say anything I guess," said Lyle Fassett. "He got his gun and shot her. She remembers falling backwards and down and that's pretty much it. We haven't gotten too much more out of her."
Police have called her a hero for feigning death after being shot, then crawling under a desk to call 911 despite her injuries and staying on the line.
DeLucia is in stable condition and her doctor said she'll fully recover.
Fassett said his sister hasn't divulged much about what she remembers of that morning, including the death of co-worker Maria Zobniw.
"She did mention that she remembered her being shot and I think she knows that she's gone," Fassett said. "Beyond that I don't know if she knows about any of the other people but I think she has a good idea. She hasn't talked about it."
Wong's family is "very sorry for all the victims and their families," his sister, Nga Wong, said in an interview on NBC's TODAY show Monday morning.
She said she could tell he was depressed about losing his job at a vacuum manufacturer and frustrated with his poor English skills.
Wong's sister said she had "occasional communications" with him but they hadn't lived together for 20 years. The woman, whose name wasn't given during the interview, said her younger brother kept his feelings to himself.
Four Chinese were among those killed, and a Chinese student was shot in the arm and leg but survived, officials said. The other victims came from Haiti, Pakistan, the Philippines, Iraq, Brazil, Vietnam and the United States.
Funerals were scheduled Monday for three of the victims: Zobniw, Roberta "Bobbi" King and Hong Xiu Mao.
Hundreds attended the funeral at Temple Concord on Monday for King, 72, who was teaching English in the classroom when the gunman burst in.
"Bobbi died last Friday doing what she loved to do — helping other people better themselves," Rabbi Barbara Goldman-Wartell said in a eulogy. "We need to renew our commitment to continue reaching out to the immigrants in our community, to the values the civic association stands for and to the legacy of Bobbi's last day."
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