BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – A gunman entered an immigration services center in downtown Binghamton on Friday, shot at least four people and took as many as 41 hostage, according to media reports.
Mayor Matthew Ryan told the Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin that there was a hostage situation involving a gunman with a high-powered rifle.
The condition of the victims wasn't immediately clear. A Binghamton police dispatcher who spoke to The Associated Press wouldn't confirm a number of people shot or injured.
The newspaper reported 41 hostages in the building of the American Civic Association and said apartments were being evacuated.
Emergency dispatchers were in contact with some people inside by phone, WBNG-TV reported. The gunman might still be in the building, the newspaper reported.
Four people were removed from the building on stretchers and taken to hospitals, and 10 more ambulances were called, the newspaper reported. The Binghamton SWAT team responded.
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.
The area is a commercial stretch on the west side of the Chenango River. Police have locked down a nearby high school and advised local business owners to stay inside.
People escaped to the basement of the building and more than a dozen people hid in a closet, WBNG reported.
The American Civic Association describes itself as helping immigrants and refugees with counseling, resettlement, citizenship, family reunification and translators.
It also intervenes with emergencies, including fighting, hunger and homelessness, according to information from the association's Web site.