Oakland gunman targeted administrator, classmates

by Laird Harrison and Malathi Nayak, Reuters

Posted at Apr 04 2012 08:41 PM | Updated as of Apr 05 2012 05:00 PM

OAKLAND, USA - A former student accused of killing seven people and wounding three others in a shooting rampage at a small Christian college in Oakland was gunning for a school administrator and classmates he felt had treated him unfairly, police said on Tuesday.

Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan said 43-year-old One Goh, who had been expelled from Oikos University for "anger management" issues, had been cooperative since being taken into custody after Monday's shootings but "not particularly remorseful."

"We know that he came here with the intent of locating an administrator, and she was not here," Jordan told a news conference. "He then went through the entire building systematically and randomly shooting victims."

Oikos, founded by a pastor from South Korea, serves about 100 students in a single building and has close links to the Korean-American Christian community. Goh is Korean-American. Prosecutors were expected to file charges against him on Wednesday.

The shooting at Oikos marked the deadliest outburst of gun violence at a U.S. college since a student at Virginia Tech University killed 32 people and wounded 25 others before taking his own life in April 2007.

Jordan and said those killed in Oakland included six women and a man, ranging in age from 21 to 40.

He and other community leaders said the dead included immigrants from South Korea, Nigeria, the Philippines and two Tibetan refugees -- one from India and one from Nepal. Six of the dead were students and one was a secretary. Some had been classmates of Goh in the school's nursing program.

Police searched on Tuesday for the gun used in the shootings, using boats and a robot to plumb an estuary leading into nearby San Leandro Bay. Jordan said ballistics evidence showed the weapon was a semi-automatic pistol.

The three wounded victims were released from an Oakland hospital by mid-morning on Tuesday.

Jordan said Goh had been expelled from the school two months ago for "behavioral problems and anger management" issues, but he was not aware of any particular incident that led to his removal.

"We've learned that the suspect was upset with the administration at the school," Jordan told ABC's "Good Morning America" in an interview.

"He was also upset that students ... in the past when he attended the school, mistreated him, disrespected him and things of that nature," he told the program. "We've learned this was a very chaotic, calculated and determined gentleman that came there with specific intent to kill people."

Period of tumult

Witnesses said Go returned to the college on Monday morning, entered a reception area and opened fire. He then walked into one of two classes in session, telling former classmates to line up and that he was going to kill them.

Goh surrendered at a Safeway grocery store several miles away.

The rampage appeared to follow a period of tumult for Goh.

A U.S. Army spokesman said that Goh's brother, Staff Sergeant Su Wan Ko, was killed in a car crash in Virginia in March 2011. Local news accounts at the time said he died after smashing into a boulder that had fallen onto the highway.

Oikos professor Soo Nam Sung told Reuters that Goh, who had studied nursing at the college, was despondent over the death of his mother about a year ago.

"He had gone through a difficult time to get good grades through his personal problems and he couldn't focus on his work," she said through an interpreter at a news conference.

Adding to his troubles, Goh had been involved in a dispute with the owners of an apartment in Virginia who had evicted him and claimed he owed back rent, court records showed.

Oikos, which offers programs in theology, nursing, music and Asian medicine, describes itself on its website as having been started to provide the "highest standard education with Christian value and inspiration."

Oikos vice president Woo Nam Soo said the student body primarily consists of Korean immigrants, but the nursing program was more international.

About 1,000 people, including relatives and friends of the victims, gathered for a memorial service on Tuesday evening at the Allen Temple Baptist Church, where the congregation consists mainly of African-American and Korean-American worshippers. The service was conducted in both English and Korean.

Many of the assembled wept quietly with hands clasped and heads bowed. Flowers were laid at the podium, where clergy from different faiths offered prayers. Some mourners swayed and waved their hands in the air and wiped tears from their eyes while hymns were sung.

One of the speakers, Mayor Jean Quan, said the gun violence that shook Oakland this week could occur anywhere in America.

"This is America, where you can find a gun easier than mental health services," she said.