Posted: 11:21 a.m. Monday, April 2, 2012

Seven dead, three wounded in Oakland university shooting

Religious School Shooting
Religious School Shooting

KTVU And Wires

OAKLAND, Calif. —

A 43-year-old former student of a small Christian university in California opened fire at the school Monday, killing at least seven people and setting off an intense, chaotic manhunt that ended with his capture at a nearby shopping center, authorities said.  

Police Chief Howard Jordan said One L. Goh surrendered about an hour after the shooting at Oikos University. Jordan said police recovered the weapon, a .45-califber gun, they believe he used during the rampage.  

"It's going to take us a few days to put the pieces together," Jordan said. "We do not have a motive."  

Police first received a 911 call at 10:33 a.m. reporting a woman on the ground bleeding. As more calls came in from the school, the first arriving officer found a victim suffering from a life-threatening gunshot wound, he said.  

It was an "extremely chaotic scene," Jordan said.  

More officers arrived and formed a perimeter around the school on the belief that the suspect was still inside, he said.

"Potential victims remained inside the building either trapped by a locked door which officers were unable to open," Jordan said. Others were unable to flee because they were injured, he said.  

Jordan said there were about 35 people in or near the building when gunfire broke out. Of the seven fatalities, five died at the scene and another two at the hospital. Three wounded victims are in
stable condition, he said.  

"This unprecedented tragedy was shocking and senseless," Jordan said.

Deborah Lee, 25, a student from China who is studying at Oikos, said she was in an ESL class when she heard four or five pops that sounded like firecrackers.

She said her teacher left the room to see what was going on, then she heard a person yell, "Someone has a gun!"

Her teacher told the students to run, and everyone ran out of the classroom and left the school.

Dawinder Kaur, 19, of Santa Clara, was in class when Goh entered the classroom armed with a handgun, Kaur's brother-in-law Gurpreet Sahota said.

He said Kaur recounted to him that the gunman told students to line up along a wall and started shooting.

Kaur managed to escape, and helped another student exit the classroom as well. He said her background as a U.S. Army Reservist likely helped her survive the shooting

He said she was treated at a hospital and was resting at home tonight, physically OK but "depressed" after witnessing Monday's events.

Sahota said Kaur had told him that Goh used to be a student but hadn't been in class in five months.

KTVU  learned that Goh, known to friends and acquaintances as One-L, was an Oakland resident and a frequent visitor at Oakland's Westlake Christian Terrace senior housing where his parents currently live.

Housing administrators told KTVU Goh seemed to be an involved and caring son.

 “(He seemed) just like a really good kid, the kind of kid I want all my residents here to have,” said Audrey Williams, of Westlake Christian Terraces.

Police sources said the elder Goh reported not seeing his son in several days, but his son called him the morning of the shooting and told him what he'd done and that he was leaving a stolen car in Alameda.

Oakland police said they have yet to interview the elder Goh to try to determine a motive.

One of the injured victims described the shooter as a student who was picked on and who struggled with English.

Acquaintances said the elder Goh's other son died in an car accident about five months ago.

Many of the family members of the victims wept and consoled each other at the school and others appeared to be in shock Monday.

The father of one of the victims learned that his daughter, Lydia Sim, didn't survive the shooting.

"I miss her," he told KTVU.

He was one of seven families who received the devastating news their loved ones were fatally gunned down Monday morning.

Lilia Sim's dad did his best to stay composed and told KTVU, “I’ll be fine."

Lilia liked kids, he told KTVU, that’s why she was attending the nursing school at Oikos University. “She wanted to help people,” he said.

Jordan said during Monday’s news conference that he could not immediately confirm the names or nationalities of the victims.

Lucas Garcia, an ESL teacher at the university, said earlier Monday that students in the school's nursing program are from all over, but that most of his students are from Korea.

 Jerry Sung, the university's accountant, said the school offers courses in both Korean and English to less than 100 students. He said the campus consisted of one building.

Sung said many of its students went on to work in nursing and ministry.

"The founder felt there was a need for theology and nursing courses for Korean-Americans who were newer to the community," Sung said. "He felt they would feed more comfortable if they had Korean-American professors."

Representatives of the Korean Methodist Church in Oakland who attended Monday's news conference said a memorial service has been planned for Tuesday evening.

The service is tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. at the church, located at 303 Hudson St.

The location may change to accommodate a larger group, said Oakland Mayor Jean Quan at Monday's news conference.

"This is the kind of incident that hurts the entire community," Quan said. "We won't understand the situation immediately, and the community will ask questions about it for a long time."  

Anyone with any information is asked to call 911 or 510-777-3321.

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