N.Y. gunman's paranoid letter blames cops
By William Kates
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — Jiverly Wong felt tormented by police. They snuck into his room and touched him while he was sleeping, he thought. They stole $20 from his wallet. Because of them, he lost his job. Because of them, he was poor and his life was a mess.
In a rambling, disjointed letter sent to a TV news station, the man who would walk into an immigrant center and gun down 13 people before killing himself blamed his troubles on the police and vowed to take at least two people "to return to the dust of earth." He ended the letter, neatly written in capital letters, on a chilling note: "And you have a nice day."
In the letter, received Monday by News 10 Now in Syracuse, the writer also complains of shoddy treatment by the state unemployment system after he lost his job assembling vacuum cleaners.
The package was dated March 18, more than two weeks before the shooting. It included photos of Wong smiling with two guns, a gun permit and his driver's license. The envelope carried three stamps: two Purple Hearts and a Liberty Bell.
Authorities had no comment about the letter. They planned a news briefing Tuesday morning.
Wong's sister said on NBC's "Today" show she doesn't think the letter was written by him. The woman, who asked not to be identified, said her younger brother's handwriting was more like "chicken scratch" and his vocabulary too limited to have written such a letter.
The letter was mailed from Binghamton and postmarked Friday, the day Wong went into the American Civic Association community center and started shooting. Two employees and 11 immigrants taking an English class died in the assault.
"I am Jiverly Wong shooting the people," the letter says.
The letter ends with him saying he can't "accept my poor life" and will "cut my poor life."
Police have speculated Wong, who was ethnically Chinese but was from Vietnam, was angry over losing a job and frustrated about his poor English skills.
"I am sorry I know a little English," the letter reads.
Police Chief Joseph Zikuski told the TV station police would be asking mental health professionals to analyze the letter. He said behavioral experts from the FBI suggested "something like this might happen."
"It's not a complete surprise to us whatsoever," he said.
Park Dietz, a criminologist and forensic psychiatrist at UCLA who analyzed the Columbine High School shootings in Colorado in 1999, said "no question, (the letter) would have been coded for persecutorial delusions."
"It's very common for the mentally ill who have persecutorial delusions to attribute innocuous or positive or negative events in their lives to some malicious intent, and often that malicious intent is ascribed to law enforcement agencies, or intelligence agencies or the government generally," Dietz said after reviewing the letter.
"Every mass murder we've ever studied has had a combination of paranoia ... depression and suicidality. This makes it clear how severe that paranoia was in this case," Dietz said.
In staccato bursts, the letter writer strings together a tale of police harassment following him from California to New York.
"Many time from 1990 to 1997 at the day time ... cop exploit unknow English and went to my house knock the door for harass and domineer," it reads. "Of course during that time cop coined something was not true about me and spread a rumour nasty like the California cop.
"Cop made me lost my job ... cop put me became poor."
Wong, 41, spent several years in California, where in 1992 he was arrested on a bad-check charge. It was in California, where he drove a truck, that he divorced his wife, Xiu Ping Jiang, in 2006. He returned to Binghamton the next year.
The writer expresses frustration over losing his job at a vacuum manufacturer.
"Right now I still get unemploment benefit of the company Shop Vac Endicott," he says. "New York State Department of Labor was cheat and unpaid from December 1st 2008 to December 28th 2008 I already claim weekly benefit from that date."
The envelope contained photos of Wong sitting in what looks like an institutional kitchen. In one, he sits at a table holding a cup, two guns resting within inches of his left elbow. In another, he stands in front of a kitchen island bar, bar stools behind him and his arms folded defiantly across his chest, a gun in each hand.
The package mailed to the TV station included Wong's pistol permit, which describes him as 5-foot-8 and 135 pounds. It lists six guns, four of which are crossed out: two Ruger .45-calibers, a Glock 9 mm and a Springfield 9 mm. Two Berettas are not crossed out: a 9 mm and a .45-caliber. Police say Wong used a 9 mm and a .45-caliber in the shootings.
The letter rambles disjointedly.
"Let talk about when I live in California," it reads. "Such as ... cop used 24 hours the technique of ultramodern and camera for burn the chemical in my house. For switch the channel time ... For adjust the fan. For made me unbreathable. For made me vomit. For connect the music into my ear."
There are polite passages - "Please continue second page thank you" - but the letter ends with dark foreboding.
"Any way I can not accepted my poor life. Before I cut my poor life I must oneself get a judge job for make an impartial with undercover cop by at least two people with me go to return to the dust of earth."