BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — One was a woman who survived three bombings in her native Iraq. Another was a never-say-retired grandmother of 17 who volunteered at her synagogue. One was a homemaker from the Philippines, a lifelong seamstress who carried an oval medallion in her pocket that her father had given her to protect her from harm.
On Friday morning, a 41-year-old Vietnamese immigrant, Jiverly Wong, armed with two handguns, burst into the American Civic Association, an immigration services center where he had until recently been taking classes to improve his English. Mr. Wong shot and killed 13 immigrant students and association workers, wounded four others and then committed suicide.
The dead were from all points of the globe: Two were from the United States, four were from China, two — husband and wife — were from Haiti, one was from Vietnam, one from Iraq, one from Brazil, one from the Philippines and one from Pakistan. On Sunday afternoon, two of the victims — Layla Khalil, 57, and Parveen Ali, 26 — were buried following a funeral at the Islamic Organization of the Southern Tier that drew around 300 mourners. Later, people packed a middle school for an interfaith memorial service.
The police released new details about Mr. Wong, but were still trying to understand his motive.
Joseph Zikuski, Binghamton’s chief of police, said that Mr. Wong came to the Binghamton area in the late 1980s but went back and forth between New York and California. In 1992, Mr. Wong was convicted of a misdemeanor for forgery. He became a naturalized citizen in November 1995 and the next year received a license to own a handgun in Broome County. He also received a handgun license in California, Chief Zikuski said.
Mr. Wong married and divorced in California, but the police had yet to locate his ex-wife.
Elisabeth Hayes, 62, Mr. Wong’s English as a second language teacher at the association, said Mr. Wong had enrolled in her class at the end of January and attended off and on until dropping out in early March. She estimated that he came to class 10 to 15 times. “He came sporadically; he didn’t come regularly,” she said. “Then he just stopped coming.”
Ms. Hayes said she did not know why, adding that though he was never teased in class, he did not say much. “He wasn’t there long enough to establish a relationship with him,” she said. “Nothing I detected would make me think he would do this.”
Ms. Hayes was on vacation on Friday, and her class was being taught by a substitute teacher, Roberta King.
After shooting two receptionists, Mr. Wong walked into his old classroom and opened fire. He either killed or wounded everyone in the room, including Ms. King, before committing suicide inside the room, the police said.
Ms. Hayes described Mr. Wong as “fragile” and “introspective.” She says that she corrects every student’s English; some appreciate it and some do not. Mr. Wong was among those who did not.
Two miles from the scene of the shooting, the bodies of the two Muslim women lay on stretchers inside burgundy body bags outside a mosque in Johnson City. Mourners stood in rows as Imam Kasim Kopuz led the prayers.
Mrs. Khalil, the native of Iraq, was a librarian and the mother of three children: a daughter who had recently completed a master’s degree at Binghamton University; a son who was studying at the Sorbonne in Paris; and another son, Mustafa Alsalihi, a student at Binghamton High School.
“She was to come to my graduation this year,” said Mustafa, 17. “She said, ‘I want to see you graduate in America.’ ”
Mrs. Khalil’s husband, Samir Alsalihi, 63, a visiting professor at Binghamton University, said his wife of 31 years had a passion for learning and had enrolled in the class to improve her English and socialize with people from other cultures. “I miss her,” he said.