Hazy Picture of Gunman Emerges

Wong described as hard-working but nervous loner.

ByABC News
April 3, 2009, 12:57 PM

April 4, 2009 — -- As the community of Binghamton, N.Y., begins to heal from the shooting rampage that left 14 people dead at an immigrant services center, police are starting to piece together a spotty portrait of the man behind the violence.

On Saturday, the local police chief dismissed as a "coward" 41-year-old Jiverly A. Wong, a Vietnamese-American who reportedly also used the last name Voong, adding that those who knew the suspect were not completely surprised at his violent outburst.

Former co-workers said he was a loner who often seemed nervous but worked hard without complaint.

Wong arrived Friday at Binghamton's American Civic Association with guns, extra ammunition and wearing body armor, Binghamton Police Chief Joseph Zikuski said. But he evidently killed himself before police arrived.

"He must have been a coward," Zikuski said. "We speculate when he heard the sirens that he decided to end his own life.."

Police are still not sure of the motive, but family and friends indicated that Wong was upset about losing a job at the company Shop-Vac and felt he was "being degraded" because of his inability to speak English well, Zikuski said.

Wong was unmarried but lived with his father, mother and sister in Union, N.Y., Zikuski said. Until the first week in March, when he apparently dropped out, he was a student at the immigrant center.

Wong had worked in Binghamton for Shop-Vac, but was laid off in November, investigators learned.

Donald Ackley, a former co-worker of Wong's at the vacuum cleaner factory, told ABC News that he was loner who often seemed nervous, but he wouldn't have expected such violence from him.

""He was real nervous, really high strung. He worked real hard. Everything he did was fast," Ackley said.

Although Wong did "quirky things," he added that there was "nothing that would leave you to believe he was capable of doing something like this."

Ackley also said that Wong worked very hard and "wasn't a complainer."

It was difficult for the two to communicate because of the language issue, he said, but "he kept to himself… He didn't interact with a lot of employees."

Another former co-worker, from the Inglewood, Calif., company Kikka Sushi, told the Los Angeles Times that Wong was a good worker but quiet.

"We didn't really think this person could do such a thing. He was really good at doing his job – we respected him for that," Paulus Lukus, human resources manager for Kikka Sushi, told the Times. "He's never late, he's always punctual. … He doesn't complain, he doesn't argue with people. He gets along."

Lukus said that Wong worked for the company as a deliveryman for nearly seven years, until July 2007. But he said Wong never formally quit. He just didn't show up for work one day.

In a statement, Kikka Sushi confirmed that Wong had worked for the company but said that out of respect for the victims of the tragedy, it would not comment further.