"It's just sad, really sad," said parishioner Paula Lambright. "They wouldn't even let him get off the church grounds!"
The shooting occurred near the intersection of 85th Ave. and A St., less than 100 feet from the Rise Community School, which was on lockdown for a time.
"I did hear the shots," Allen Temple Pastor J. Alfred Smith told ABC7. "It was a gentleman who was coming to our GED class, trying to gain some skills and make life better for himself."
A source at the church told ABC7, the victim had received several phone calls during the morning class, from a woman trying to get him to come outside. When he left the class at 11:40 a.m., he was gunned down. Police say the gunman jumped into a white Chrysler 300, driven by a woman.
"It's very disconcerting for us that you have a homicide right in front of a church, especially this church," said Oakland police spokesman Jeff Thomason.
Thomason said the shooting is Oakland's 74th homicide for the year. This time last year there were 90. Pastor Smith told ABC7 his church will continue to offer classes and programs for those trying to transition from prison or troubled pasts back into the community.
On Wednesday morning, the church will host a gathering designed to help educate young African American ministers in ways to promote "violence prevention and health justice in Oakland and Richmond, with a particular focus on boys and men of color."