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Gunman sprayed bullets inside religious school classroom

April 2, 2012 |  6:09 pm

A body lies outside a coroner's van outside Oikos University in Oakland on Monday.

A gunman who opened fire at a small religious college in Oakland on Monday, killing seven people and wounding several others, sprayed gunfire in one classroom.

Witnesses described a heavy-set Asian man in his 40s calmly opening fire at the college in an industrial area near Oakland International Airport, which has a largely Korean student body of about 100.

The San Francisco Chronicle, citing law enforcement sources, reported that the gunman used a .45-caliber handgun and sprayed one classroom with bullets. The paper said the suspect arrested in the case had been a student in the class and apparently got into some type of dispute.

PHOTOS: Chaos and tragedy at Oakland college

The suspect was arrested at an Alameda shopping center a few miles from Oikos University. He is being questioned by police.

The gunfire rang out after 10 a.m., sending students and faculty diving for cover and running for their lives.

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 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.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said city officials spent the day reaching out to community members with support services. But she said, “There are still a lot of questions remaining.”

Authorities have not released any information about the gunman or a possible motive. School officials told local media that the suspect taken into custody may have been a former student who was expelled or had dropped out.

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.


Possible suspect detained in Oakland religious college shooting

Oakland police swarm religious school after gunman opens fire

Several wounded at Oakland religious college; gunman at large

--Maria L. LaGanga in Oakland and Matt Stevens in Los Angeles

Photo: A body lies outside a coroner's van outside Oikos University in Oakland on Monday. Credit: Noah Berger / Associated Press