7 dead, 3 wounded in Oakland religious school shooting

Oikos University shooting
April 2, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Seven people were killed and three more were injured in a shooting at Oikos University in Oakland.

The shooting occurred at 10:33 a.m. on the 7800 block of Edgewater Drive when a man described as an Asian male in his 40s with a heavy build entered the school and opened fire. Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan identified the suspect as 43-year-old One Goh, an American of Korean origin. Police believe he was the sole shooter.

When police arrived at the scene, they found multiple victims, as well as students hiding in locked classrooms. There were 10 victims total; five died at the scene, another two died after being transported to a local hospital, and three victims survived the shooting.

One of the surviving victims, Dawinder Kaur, 19, is a nursing student from Santa Clara. She was treated and released Monday afternoon. The gunshot wound was to her right arm. She told ABC7 was doing OK. Recalling the incident she said, "He just stood up in class and decided to shoot us." She explained that she tried to help her friend by picking her up after she fell to the ground and that's when Kaur got shot in the arm.

As for the other two survivors, they remain at the hospital. One is a man with an injury to his back and the other is a woman with an injury to her shoulder.

We're also learning more about one of the victims who died in the shooting, Tshering Bhutia. The Oakland Tribune reports Bhutia was murdered when Goh carjacked him at the college. Bhutia lived in a residential hotel in San Francisco's North Beach. His landlord told ABC7 he called to check on the nursing student when news of the shooting broke, but got no answer. Bhutia immigrated from India several years ago. He worked nights as a janitor at San Francisco International Airport and attended classes during the day.

Dechen Yangzom, a nursing student who's only been in Oakland for three months, may have stopped others from being wounded or even killed. She heard the shooting in a classroom next door, so she locked the door, and turned off the nights. She and her classmates lay flat on the floor and after some tense moments, the gunman passed and no one was hurt in her classroom.

"He [started] shooting [at] the door. I think it was three or for times he shot at the door and maybe he thought nobody was inside because it was dark and he could not see anything. And then I think he moved onto the other room, I could hear the gun banging and suddenly a lady, she was asking for help," said Yangzom.

Goh fled the scene after commandeering Bhutia's car and he was taken into custody around 11:30 a.m. at the South Shore Center in Alameda, about five miles from the school. A security guard approached Goh because he was acting suspiciously; the guard said Goh told him he needed to speak to police because he had shot several people. The security guard then called Alameda police and Goh was taken into custody without incident. He was later transferred to Oakland police custody.

A source told ABC7 Goh called his father to tell him everything that happened. We've learned that Goh stayed with his 72-year-old father part of the week at a senior apartment complex in Oakland. Police escorted 72-year-old Yong Nam Ko away Monday afternoon and sealed the unit.

Goh was a deeply in debt and that he was a troubled person with tens of thousands of dollars in liens, including one from the IRS. Most of his money problems came when he lived in Virginia, prior to moving to the Bay Area. In fact, he was evicted from his apartment in Hayes, Virginia in the spring of 2008 owing $1,300 is back rent. We're also learning that there must have been something that troubled him deeply. His brother, with whom he was close, was a staff sergeant in the Army and died in a car accident while he was training with the Special Forces last year. Goh had a hunting license so he was also probably very familiar with firearms.

Investigators spent several hours looking over the scene in Alameda, including the portion of the parking lot where the suspect's Honda was parked. Sources tell ABC7 a gun was recovered at the scene.

Goh is believed to have once been a nursing student at Oikos University, but was no longer enrolled.

In a statement released Monday afternoon, Mayor Jean Quan called the shootings a "terrible tragedy." She commended Oakland emergency personnel for their quick response.

Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement, "The tragic loss of life at Oikos University today is shocking and sad. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, their families and friends and the entire community affected by this senseless act of violence."

All of the identities of the victims have not been officially released.

Police have not commented on a possible motive for the shootings. No charges have been filed against Goh.

Oikos University is a Christian school that offers courses of study in Asian medicine, theology, music and nursing. It was founded in 2004, by Jongin Kim, currently the school's president. It is licensed by the Bureau for Private Post-Secondary and Vocational Education, which reports no complaints against the school. According to financial records, Oikos took in $1 million in 2010. It is affiliated with the Praise God Korean Church of Oakland and Shepherd University in San Francisco.

The police chief said the university will be closed indefinitely.

Quan said at a Monday evening press conference that the city is looking for additional Korean-speaking crisis counselors.

11 P.M. UPDATE: The vigil location for the victims has been changed to the Allen Temple Baptist Church at 8501 International Boulevard in Oakland. It will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Jonathan Bloom, Vic Lee, Lilian Kim, Lyanne Melendez, Katie Marzullo, Don Sanchez, Nick Smith, and Carolyn Tyler contributed to this story.


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