Families grieve for victims of Oakland mass shooting

(KGO)
April 3, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
As police reveal more information on the suspect in Monday's mass shooting and his motives, families literally around the world are grieving.

On Tuesday, ABC7's Carolyn Tyler visited a mother she first met on Monday as the woman waited for word on her daughter. She received the worst possible news. "She's the one who got shot," Mary Ping recalled. Her grief was raw. Her oldest child, 24-year-old Katleen Ping, was shot to death in the school rampage. "It hurts me a lot. Yeah. It's like it's killing me too, but I need to think that, even though it's too early, I need to put it in my mind I'm going to be OK," she said.

Katleen got the job at Oikos College just a few months ago, as a secretary, and was the primary breadwinner for a family that included her 4-year-old son as well as her parents, two young sisters, and a brother, all living together in East Oakland. Her husband is still in the Philippines and was hoping to join them soon.

Mary Ping stood behind the yellow police tape Monday as she waited for word about Katleen. She seemed to have a mother's intuition. Even amongst consoling reassurances, she seemed to know. "I hope she's OK," she said. "I just want to think that she's OK."

Now, it is the family's strong belief in God that they say will carry them through. "We are Christian. We are holding on the promises of God. We believe in bible," she said Tuesday. That faith is what's going to carry them through. The family said repeatedly they believe Katleen is now in a better place and that they will see her again someday.

Another one of the young women killed lived in Hayward with her family who is now planning a memorial for Wednesday night at their long-time church. It's a place of worship where they go regularly and where the victim often cared for children.

Lydia Sim's death was so sudden and tragic, her little brother Daniel is having a hard time believing she is really gone. "She's great. She's great. Best sister any brother could ask for. She's really outgoing, very caring, always cares for others," he told ABC7.

Lydia Sim, 21, was born in San Francisco and lived her entire life in the Bay Area, a life cut short by One Goh. Daniel says his sister only had one more big test before graduating this year with a nursing degree. "One thing is she loved kids. Ever since she was growing up, she wanted to become a pediatrician and just help kids. She would always babysit the kids at church, of course, me," he said.

Daniel is just three years younger than Lydia and says he and his father are trying to be strong for his mother who is distraught with grief. He says it is impossible to make sense of the rampage and the impact it is having on so many lives. "It is crazy. How can a human being do that to another human being? It's just a loss for words. I don't even know what to say, but they got him, I heard. I'm happy about that. Justice will be served," he said.

The church pastor, who knew Lydia, was flying in from Texas where he lives, to perform a service and comfort the family.

Police say Goh shot and killed 38-year-old Tshering Bhutia during a carjacking moments after the school shooting. Police say Goh then used Bhutia's car to escape the shooting scene. Officers caught up him and the car just a few miles away at a shopping center parking lot in Alameda.

Today, friends are remembering Bhutia as a caring person. "He was one of the gentlest souls and perennially upbeat. Not surprising to me that he was pursuing nursing," Sandy Close said.

Bhutia lived at a residential hotel in San Francisco. He was born in the tiny Indian state of Sikkim deep in the Himalayan Mountains. He worked nights as a janitor at San Francisco International Airport and took nursing classes during the day at Oikos University.

A prayer service was held at Richmond's Tibetan Community Center for another one of the victims, 33-year-old Sonam Choedon. According to the Tibetan Community Center, she had been in the U.S. for two years after serving five years in the exiled Tibetan government's education office in India. She was pursuing a nursing degree at Oikos University.

Choedun was very dedicated to the Tibetan community and wanted to devote her life to helping others.

"She will be on my mind every day," Choedon's brother, Jinpa Nyima, said. "I can't believe she's gone. I'm hoping someone says it's not true, but it's something I guess is true."

Doris Chibuko, 40, was a Nigerian-born, mother of four who came to the U.S. 10 years ago. She started attending classes at Oikos about a year and a half ago and was supposed to graduate with a nursing degree in a few months.

"I can't believe that someone would wake up and go to school to make a better life for themselves and be just killed," said Kaykay Amamgbo, Chibuko's friend. "She's one of the nicest, sweetest, and most thoughtful people ever."

Grace Kim, 23, was also a nursing student. She was going to school full-time while working at BJ's in Newark.

"She was the most vivacious person you could imagine," said Jillian Farrar, Kim's friend. "She had a good future and it was taken from her and it's disgusting, awful, horrible."

Breaking into a song while at work was a common thing. Kim, who's family is from Korea, made people smile. And now those smiles are replaced by tears.

The other victim of the mass shooting has been identified as 53-year-old Judith Seymour.

Just before 5 p.m. Tuesday, a small group of students from Urban Mission Bible College in Oakland held a very brief vigil at the Oikos campus to show their solidarity with the school.


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