Witness: Oakland religious school gunman shot 1 at point-blank range
Dramatic details are emerging about the mass shooting at an Oakland religious college that left seven dead, with one witness saying the gunman calmly opened fire. One victim was shot at point-blank range, she said.
Authorities have arrested a suspect at a shopping center a few miles from Oikos University, where rounds of shots were fired just after 10 a.m. Monday. But they have released little information about the shooter or the victims.
Timothy Yi, pastor at the Hayward Korean Baptist Church, arrived at the scene in search of information about a member of his flock, Lydia Sim, 21, who was enrolled at the college. “We tried to call her and she didn’t answer,” Yi told The Times. He added, “I’m kind of shocked.”
Police officers held up a large white tarp to shield the work of coroner's officials as they moved the bodies of victims from a wide grassy median into a van. Strips of bright yellow crime-scene tape cordoned off the area, keeping onlookers a long block away.
Larry Reid, Oakland’s City Council president who represents the part of the city where the college is located, expressed deep sorrow over the day’s “senseless violence … by an individual who has a gun and isn’t afraid to use it.”
“It’s just another sad day in my city,” Reid said.
Angie Johnson, 52, of San Leandro, was running errands at the time of the shooting and told the San Francisco Chronicle that she saw a woman with a bloodied right arm, crying, "I've been shot, I've been shot."
Johnson said the woman told her the shooter was a man in her nursing class who stood up and shot one person in the chest at point-blank range before spraying the room with bullets. Johnson said the woman described the suspect as looking “crazy all the time.”
Johnson also told the Chronicle that the woman "had a hole in her right arm the size of a silver dollar, with blood coming down."
Minutes later, authorities tracked down the suspect outside a Safeway in Alameda's South Shore shopping center. Lisa Resler, 41, told the Oakland Tribune she was leaving the store 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.
According to its website, Oikos University is a Christian university "established specifically to serve the community of Northern California in general and San Francisco and Oakland areas in particular." The school is not far from Oakland International Airport and the Oakland Coliseum.
--Maria L. LaGanga in Oakland and Matt Stevens and Stephen Ceasar in Los Angeles
Photo: A body lies outside a coroner's van outside Oikos University in Oakland on Monday. Credit: Noah Berger / Associated Press