Oakland college gunman felt bullied, police say
The suspect in a shooting rampage at a Oikos University told authorities he was targeting administrators and students at the Oakland college for teasing him and treating him disrespectfully.
The suspect, 43-year-old One L. Goh, opened fire in the middle of a classroom at his former school, leaving seven people dead in one of California's worst mass killings.
Goh told investigators he targeted one female administrator in particular at the small religious college, the Oakland Tribune reported. Other students at the school “were not treating him respectfully,” Police Chief Howard Jordan told the newspaper.
Goh told police he wanted to go back to the school and inflict pain, the newspaper reported. Goh was reportedly expelled from the school in November. Police said he was a former nursing student.
Jordan did not identify the administrator, but said she was not among the injured. Investigators do not believe that any of the victims were the students who teased him.
Paul Singh, whose sister was one of three wounded, told Reuters that the shooter instructed students: "Get in line and I'm going to kill you all."
There were about 35 students inside the college at the time.
Goh was arrested about two hours after the shooting in front of a Safeway supermarket in an Alameda shopping center a few miles away.
Goh left behind a string of debts and minor traffic citations in his former home state of Virginia and was evicted from one apartment complex in the state, according to ABC News Bay Area affiliate KGO.
Soon after the shooting Monday, heavily armed officers swarmed the tiny college of about 100 students in a large industrial park near the Oakland airport.
The first word of trouble reached authorities shortly after 10:30 a.m., when a caller told emergency dispatchers of a woman bleeding on the ground outside the little-known college, police said.
By the time the first officers arrived three minutes later, 911 lines were flooded with terrified calls from inside the school’s single-story brick building situated in a light industry and business park. Heavily armed police and rescue personnel swarmed the neighborhood.
Specialized SWAT units entered the school, where officers hurried many unharmed people to safety and carried victims outside. Five people died at the scene. Two others died at hospitals. The three other victims did not suffer life-threatening injuries, police said.
“Today was an unprecedented tragedy, shocking and senseless,” Jordan said at a news conference. “No words can express the gravity of this incident.” Investigators had not yet interviewed Goh, nor formally charged him with the shooting. They offered little information about him, saying only that he was a naturalized citizen from Korea and did not appear to have a criminal past.
The school remained a crime scene Monday night as investigators continued the painstaking work of processing what Jordan described as “a very bloody scene with lots of evidence.”
Oikos University fills a particular and unusual niche, enrolling a heavily Korean student body and offering only classes in Bible study, nursing and music, according to its website.
Larry Reid, the Oakland City Council president whose district includes the part of the city where the college is located, said he had been unaware of the school’s existence until its low profile was shattered Monday by the rampage.
“Today there are a number of individuals who lost their lives to senseless violence,” Reid said. “It’s just another sad day in my city.” Calling it “a terrible tragedy” for Oakland, and in particular its Korean community, Mayor Jean Quan said the shooting “will leave the [Korean] community asking questions for a long time .... I hope we will put our arms around this group of people and these families and try to bring peace back to this city.”
As word of the bloodshed spread, worried family and friends of students rushed to the scene, only to be stopped alongside a horde of reporters a block away from the school. Timothy Yi, pastor at the Hayward Korean Baptist Church, came in search of information about a member of his congregation, Lydia Sim, 21.
“We tried to call her and she didn’t answer,” Yi said.
In the distance, officers held up a large white tarp to shield the work of coroner's officials. Authorities did not release the names of the dead. The school was said to be searching for Korean-speaking counselors to offer grief counseling for students and faculty. A memorial service is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Korean Methodist Church in Oakland.
-- Stephen Ceasar, Maria La Ganga, Joel Rubin and Matt Stevens
Photo: A victim of the Oakland college shooting lies on a stretcher that will be loaded into a coroner's van Monday. Credit: Noah Berger / Associated Press