For both the Binghamton, New York, shooting spree, and the Pittsburgh case, Saturday's NBC Nightly News made a point of relaying word that the gunman either had a love of guns or was "passionate" about supporting gun rights. During a report on Jiverly Voong, who attacked the immigration center in Binghamton, correspondent Ron Allen referred to "some reports" that Voong "loved guns and hated America." Allen: "Some reports described him as an angry loner who loved guns and hated America. He had no criminal record, and police say they had no clue he was so dangerous."
In a report on Richard Poplawski, who murdered three police officers in Pittsburgh, correspondent Jeff Rossen related: "While the motive is unclear, friends say the gunman was upset after getting laid off from a local factory and became passionate about gun rights."
Then came a soundbite of Edward Perkovic, a friend of Poplawski: "He always said that if anybody ever tried to take his firearms, he was going to stand by what his forefathers told him to do and defend themselves."
Below are transcripts of relevant portions of the Saturday, April 4, NBC Nightly News:
RON ALLEN: Jiverly Voong's family told police that they were not surprised by what he did. He was angry after being recently fired from a job, and he couldn't find another one. He was upset that people were belittling him because he didn't speak English very well. Well, he came here to this civic association and opened fire on a class of immigrants learning English, a place that helps immigrants realize the American dream. Interestingly, Voong had been a student here at this very center until last month when he dropped out of class. That's the connection between him and this place now mourning 13 lost souls.
Authorities say Jiverly Voong planned a long siege, and to take on police. Clad in body armor, armed with two semi-automatic handguns – both registered to him – and a bag full of ammunition, Voong barricaded the back door of the cultural center with a car, then stormed in the front door. He never said a word while opening fire on two receptionists. One died, the other, Shirley DeLuca, severely wounded, played dead.
JOE ZIKULSKI, BINGHAMTON POLICE DEPARTMENT CHIEF: She crawled underneath the desk. Luckily, she had access to a cell phone and she called 911.
ALLEN: The building was busy. Dozens of people fled to the basement or hid where they could. Police arrived two minutes later – too late. The shooting had stopped.
ZIKULSKI: He must have been a coward. We speculate that when he heard the sirens, that he decided to end his own life, so he was heavily armed, had a lot of ammunition on him. Thank God before more lives were lost that he decided to do that.
ALLEN: Voong had killed 13 people in a class of about 50 students studying English. Each victim riddled with multiple wounds. ... Wong lived with his mother, father, and sister on this suburban street. He was not married. Some reports described him as an angry loner who loved guns and hated America. He had no criminal record, and police say they had no clue he was so dangerous.
ZIKUSKI: If some crazy lunatic decides to pick up a gun and go some place and start shooting people, I really don't have the answer to how law enforcement can prevent anything like that.
ALLEN: Throughout the day, investigators have been trying to identify all the victims and notify the families. They come from nine countries.
JEFF ROSSEN, REPORTING ON THE PITTSBURGH SHOOTING SPREE: While the motive is unclear, friends say the gunman was upset after getting laid off from a local factory and became passionate about gun rights.
EDWARD PERKOVIC, FRIEND OF GUNMAN RICHARD POPLAWSKI: He always said that if anybody ever tried to take his firearms, he was going to stand by with his forefathers told him to do and defend themselves.