Ukrainian Congress Committee secretary gunned down in Binghamton massacre (Updated)

From the Toronto Star:

BINGHAMTON, N.Y.–A gunman barricaded the back door of a community centre with his car and then opened fire on a room full of immigrants taking a citizenship class yesterday, killing 13 people before apparently committing suicide.

The attack came just after 10 a.m. at the American Civic Association, an organization that helps immigrants settle in the United States.

Police Chief Joseph Zikuski said the gunman parked his car against the back door, "making sure nobody could escape," then stormed through the front, shooting two receptionists, apparently without a word.

The suspect, believed to be Vietnamese immigrant Jiverly Voong, 42, then entered a room just off the reception area and fired on a citizenship class.

Part-time caseworker Maria Zobniw was supposed to have the day off, but the call came from the immigrant assistance center that extra help was needed, and off she went:

Maria Zobniw was the heart and soul of her family, and a bedrock in the local Ukrainian community, friends and family said.

The 60-year-old woman cared deeply about her heritage and wanted to share it, her daughter Zoriana Zobniw Nehrebeckyj said.

For four decades, she was president of the Binghamton Chapter of Ukrainian Women’s League and secretary of the local branch of Ukrainian Congress Committee of America. In that capacity, she organized education booths for the Ethnic Festival, helped raise the flag on Ukrainian Independence Days and gave presentations at area schools about Ukrainian Easter eggs, embroidery and arts.

Zobniw was born in a displaced person’s camp after World War II. Her family came to Binghamton when she was 4 years old, and she grew up in a Ukrainian section of Binghamton’s First Ward. She was a lifelong member of the Sacred Heart Ukrainian Catholic Church and a member of the first graduating class at Seton Catholic Central High School in Binghamton. She also graduated from Harpur College (now Binghamton University).

"We were raised in a traditional Ukrainian Catholic home where God, Ukraine and the importance of education were the things that were stressed," Nehrebeckyj said.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family.

A Mass of Divine Liturgy will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Sacred Heart Ukrainian Catholic Church. The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Laskowski Funeral Home, 367 Prospect St., Binghamton. Donations in Zobniw’s memory can be made to Ukrainian Women’s League or Ukrainian Congress of America, Ukrainian School Curriculum Fund.

Update: I’ve added some more links to this story

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2 thoughts on “Ukrainian Congress Committee secretary gunned down in Binghamton massacre (Updated)

  1. What a terrible tragedy, and such an incredible loss to our community, and the world. May she rest in peace, and may her family find the strength to deal with their personal grief.

    Vichnaya pamyat!

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