At least four shot, dozens taken hostage in US

At least four people were shot and dozens taken hostage by a man armed with a high-powered rifle in New York, US officials said today.

Mayor Matthew Ryan said the hostage situation started this morning at the American Civic Association in Binghamton, about 150 miles north west of New York City.

He said the man had a high-powered rifle and police SWAT teams were at the scene.

Mr Ryan told the Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin that Binghamton High School, a block and a half away from the site, was under a lock-down.

The newspaper, which quoted police radios, said at least four people were taken to hospital on stretchers.

There were 41 hostages in the building – 15 in a closet and 26 in the boiler room – and the gunman remains inside, according to reports.

The gunman was described as an Asian man in his 20s, between 5ft 8in and 6ft, wearing a bright green nylon jacket and dark-rimmed glasses, according to reports.

The American Civic Association describes itself as helping immigrants and refugees with counselling, resettlement, citizenship, family reunification and translators.

It also intervenes with emergencies, including fighting, hunger and homelessness, according to information from the association’s website.

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