Former nursing student opens fire at Calif. university
Police said five people were dead at the scene; of five others who were taken to the hospital, two later died
By Harry Harris, Josh Richman, Kristin J. Bender, Angela Woodall and Matthew Artz
Vallejo Times Herald
OAKLAND — A former nursing student who opened fire in a small Christian university Monday morning, killing seven and wounding three more, first told his former classmates to line up against a wall before pulling a handgun and sending students fleeing in panic, a witness said.
"The people started running and he started shooting," said Gurpreet Sahota, who relayed an account from his sister-in-law, Dawinder Kaur.
Police sources on Monday confirmed they've arrested 43-year-old One Goh of Oakland in connection with the shooting.
Kaur, 19, a nursing student and U.S. Army Reservist from Santa Clara, was shot in her right arm near her elbow, according to her relatives. They said she told them the gunman had been a student in her class who had been absent for months before reappearing Monday and ordering students to line up against a wall.
He showed his gun and then the students started running, Kaur later told relatives. She was shot as she helped a friend who had fallen on the classroom's floor; she then ran outside and called her brother, Paul Singh.
"She told me that a guy went crazy and she got shot," Singh said. "She was running. She was crying; she was bleeding, it was wrong."
The family was at Alameda County Medical Center's Highland Hospital, and said they saw other victims as well: one man shot in the shoulder, and a woman shot in her hand and back.
Police said five people were dead at the scene; of five others who were taken to the hospital, two later died. Authorities said most of those killed and wounded had been in a classroom near the school's entrance; one was shot in an administrative office. The gunman reportedly went to another classroom and fired through its locked door but didn't hit anyone there.
The gunman was caught a short time later in an Alameda shopping center, about five miles away, police said. Safeway employees who did not give their names said the suspect told a store staffer that he had shot people and needed to be arrested.
Lisa Resler, 41, said she was leaving the supermarket with her daughter when she saw a young Asian man with a beanie being confronted by store security; she described him as being "very sedated" as he was handcuffed.
The scene back at Oikos University wasn't sedate; it was slaughter.
Officers responding to the 10:23 a.m. shooting swarmed the one-story building on Edgewater Drive just north of Hegenberger Road, in a business park between Interstate 880 and Oakland International Airport.
Some witnesses said that a victim who had fled the building told them the shooter was in the classroom, stood up and shot another student in the chest, and then opened fire on the rest of the classroom.
Within minutes, as the gunman remained on the loose, other buildings nearby were locked down and police and news helicopters hovered above. Police moved an armored vehicle in front of the school to provide cover as students and faculty -- many of whom had been found cowering under desks -- were evacuated by SWAT officers. Some of the wounded immediately were whisked away by ambulance while others were treated at the scene.
Later, several bodies that had been removed from the school lay covered on the front lawn.
The university gives students "the opportunity to obtain a Christian education that is based on solid Christian doctrine and ideology," according to a statement on its website by founder and president Pastor Jongin Kim. "Our main goal is to foster spiritual Christian leaders who abide by God's intentions and to expand God's nation through them."
Monday's shooting occurred during Christianity's holiest week.
Kim said Monday the shooter had previously been an Oikos nursing student but was no longer enrolled. He was unsure whether the shooter had been expelled or had dropped out voluntarily.
Kim did not see the shooting but heard about 30 gunshots. "I stayed in my office," he said, imitating the sound of rapid shots.
Kaur's father, Balvir Singh, via translation by Sahota, said her family is "lucky she is alive. We are thankful that God saved her." The gunman, he said, "should get the full consequences that he deserves for doing this to these people."
Students panicked and ran from the building when the shooting started, said Nam Gong Kyun, a 52-year-old English student from Korea.
Students and teachers throughout the building heard the shots, said Lucas Garcia, who has taught English at Oikos for three years.
"We heard many gunshots," he said. "Everybody was scared, obviously."
About 100 people -- most of them media but also family members of students -- remained outside the school Monday afternoon before being evacuated.
Among them was Timothy Yi, pastor of Hayward Korean Baptist church, who arrived there with the father of a student who was still inside the building.
Yi said no one had been able to reach the student, Lydia Sim, 21, although her father had been escorted inside.
"He doesn't know if his daughter is OK," Yi said. Phone calls to her cell phone were not answered. "I just want to know if she's safe or not," Yi said.
The pastor was shocked by the shooting, as the school has a reputation as a religious school. "They just study Bible and nursing," he said.
The name of the suspect and victims were not immediately released but the Oakland Police Department has planned a media briefing at 6 p.m. in Oakland.
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan issued a statement calling the slayings "a terrible tragedy" and offering condolences to the victims and their families while commending police and other first responders for their swift work.
"We have spent most of the day reaching out to the community to offer support and want the students and family members to know that counseling services will be available," she said "... There are still a lot of questions remaining."
Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, issued a statement saying she joins the entire community "in expressing my deepest condolences to the families of those who were lost in the tragic shooting at Oikos University today.
"My thoughts and prayers go out to the family members and friends of all the victims, including those wounded by this senseless act of violence and to all the students who witnessed this tragedy," Lee said. "As we continue to learn more about the facts surrounding this matter, I will remain in close contact with local officials and law enforcement to urge a complete and thorough investigation into this terrible incident."
"My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those killed in this senseless tragedy," U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said in a statement issued Monday afternoon. "I am praying for a full and speedy recovery for all those injured in today's shooting."
"The tragic loss of life at Oikos University today is shocking and sad," Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement issued Monday afternoon."Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, their families and friends and the entire community affected by this senseless act of violence."
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