Reported by Donald Sbarra, Special to NYSSA

 

Shocking first reports

 

When the first reports arrived about multiple shootings and possibly hostages being held at the American Civic Association in Binghamton, Broome County Sheriff David Harder's first impulse was to get there as fast as he could.

 

While the scene wasn't primarily his jurisdiction, his 45 years of experience told him the Binghamton City Police Department - and a 14-year Binghamton patrolman named Charles Harder - could use all the help they could get.

 

He was right.

 

A sad day in Broome County history

 

The day was April 3, the time approximately 10:33 a.m. What police swarming the scene had yet to learn was that 13 people had been murdered and four others seriously wounded by a distraught and mentally unstable man wielding a pair of semi-automatic handguns while clad in a bullet-proof vest and packing dozens of rounds of ammunition. Forty-one-year-old Jiverly A. Wong would eventually take his own life, but not before making Binghamton the scene of one of the worst mass murders in U.S. history.