Chaos at Oakland religious school as gunman opened fire is recalled
Police dispatchers received the first call for help at 10:33 a.m., said Officer Johnna Watson, spokeswoman for the Oakland Police Department.
Within minutes, police and rescue personnel arrived at the low-slung building in an industrial area that is also home to a sprawling car dealership, a food bank and several Korean-run businesses.
Quickly realizing there was a shooter on the loose, officers called in specialized SWAT units, which made entry into the school building, where at least some of the victims were discovered. It appeared, Watson said, that most, if not all, of the shooting took place inside. SWAT officers methodically cleared each room in the school and in surrounding buildings in search of more victims and the shooter but eventually concluded that the suspect was not inside.
A man suspected of being the lone shooter was taken into custody a short time later. Watson did not identify the man and described him only as “an Asian male in his 40s.” She did not say where the man was apprehended or what led police to him. Investigators were still working to determine a motive for the shooting and the man’s connection to the school.
Ezra Curry, 48, a bus driver from Berkeley, had a dentist appointment near the school. He arrived about an hour after the shooting had started and described the chaotic scene. “I saw a melee. Cops with rifles drawn, five helicopters flying overhead. I saw a body on a blue tarp in the median. He was still alive, they … tried to bring him back.”
The death toll stood seven by midafternoon, and several other people at the school were injured.
-- Maria L. LaGanga in Oakland and Matt Stevens in Los Angeles
Photo: Timothy Yi, A pastor at Hayward Korean Baptist Church, stands outside of Oikos University hoping for word about a student who was still unaccounted for. Credit: Monica M. Davey / EPA