NEW YORK: A young Pakistani woman was among a total of 14 people from eight different countries of their origin who were killed in Friday’s deadly shooting rampage in Binghamton, New York, local authorities said on Sunday. Parveen Ali, 26, came to the United States in 2001 with her mother and two brothers from northern Pakistan, according to media reports. She worked odd jobs at a gas station and hotel while trying to get her high school equivalency diploma. She eventually wanted to go to college and become a teacher.
She was like a mother to her 24-year-old brother, Nadar Ali. “It’s an extreme pain,” he said. He described his sister as “like the base of our family. How can I describe it to you? She played a significant role in our family.” Parveen Ali recently gained citizenship, which allowed her to sponsor two younger brothers still in Pakistan to come to the U.S., said Kaniz Fatima, a family friend. “All her dreams are buried with her,” Kaniz Fatima said.
According to a victims’ namelist released here, the 14, besides Pakistan, came from the Philippines, Haiti, China, Vietnam, the United States, Brazil and Iraq, respectively. Four were from China, two from Haiti, two from the United States, two from Vietnam including the shooter, and one each from the Philippines, Iraq and Brazil.
Four people wounded in the attack were still in hospital but are all expected to survive, Police Chief Joseph Zikuski told a new conference on Sunday. Jiverly Wong, a naturalized U.S. citizen believed to be in his early 40s, has been identified as the killer who broke into the American Civic Association building on Friday morning and fired “numerous” shots with two handguns, police said.
The American Civic Association helps immigrants with citizenship, resettlement and family reunification in Binghamton, a city of about 47,000 situated 140 miles northwest of New York City. The victims were taking a class to improve their English language skills when the gunman burst in firing indiscriminately.
More than 7,100 immigrants, most of them Asians, have settled in Binghamton since 2005, according to city statistics. They are a cosmopolitan mix of Kurds, Chinese, Filipinos, Africans, Iraqis – but only a fraction of the city’s predominantly white population of 43,000.
The attack came just after 10 a.m. local time at the American Civic Association, which helps immigrants with citizenship, resettlement and family reunification in Binghamton, a city of about 47,000 situated 140 miles northwest of New York City. About 2 ½ miles from the American Civic Association, a packed funeral service was held at a mosque for victims Parveen Ali and Layla Khalil, 57, an Iraqi Kurd who had escaped car bombings in her home country before dying in Friday’s shooting.
“It’s great to see people from all different religions,” Ehtisham Siddiqui, the president of the Islamic Organization of the Southern Tier, told mourners. “We’re fortunate to have such a diverse and tightknit community.” Afterward, the covered bodies were set outside. Mourners lined up in rows to pay their respects as an imam led them in a funeral prayer.-APP