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Oakland shooting suspect charged with 7 murders

One Goh

April 5, 2012 1:31:07 AM PDT
The suspect in the mass killings at Oikos University in Oakland was charged with seven counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder during his first court appearance Wednesday.

Goh showed no emotion as the judge read the charges against him -- naming the victims one by one.

After the brief court hearing, District Attorney Nancy O'Malley told reporters the murders were brutal and vicious.

"The scope of this murderous rampage is really unprecedented here in Alameda County," O'Malley said. "The defendant went to the school with a .45 caliber weapon; he also had four, fully-loaded magazines of ammunition."

Goh was apparently upset with the school and left in November with his tuition fully paid.

"There is some information that the defendant wanted some money back for tuition he had paid," O'Malley said.

There is also now an explanation of why he left abruptly after the shooting.

"Our indication [is] that he just left; he just wasn't able to continue the pattern because some people had left the building already and there were calls were being made to 911," Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan said.

Jordan says Goh has confessed to the murders and that he is cooperating with investigators, even though he does not appear to be remorseful.

Goh's motive appears to be revenge. Police say he was angry at a female school administrator and had a grudge against classmates for teasing him about his broken English and his awkward behavior. O'Malley says people at the school recall One Goh as a loner, "what some might call a loser," she said.

Goh had a history of financial problems when he lived in Virginia, prior to moving to the Bay Area. He was deeply in debt but has no criminal record.

ABC7 has learned that Goh's last job before he enrolled at Oikos University was at a Korean supermarket in Daly City where he worked with his father. Store management declined comment.

Goh had previously worked at an Asian food wholesale distributor in San Mateo. A source says Goh was fired because he was not the right guy for the job.

Goh says officials believe Goh acted alone.

Goh will be back in court on April 30 to enter a plea.

Search continues for weapon

Divers went back in the water Wednesday to search for the gun used in the shootings. They believe Goh tossed a .45 semi-automatic handgun into the Oakland estuary. A 31-foot safe boat with a sonar device was brought in to expand the search, conducted by the Alameda County Sheriff's Department.

"Searching for an item this small in this estuary with these conditions and the rocks is like searching for a needle in a haystack," Alameda County Sheriff's Department spokesperson J.D. Nelson said.

Within an hour, the safe boat stopped to mark its location. That's when the dive team was called in. Divers, tied onto a line, tried to drop into the water, but murky conditions make it hard for even the most experienced divers.

"Even in the best of conditions, the visibility is near zero, so whether you are at high noon in daylight or midnight, the divers under water, it's no difference to them," Nelson said.

Tuesday, the dive team worked into the morning hours, but found nothing. Wednesday's search also proved unsuccessful.

School's nursing program under scrutiny

Oikos University has been on the radar of state regulators for some time because so many of the students who graduate from its nursing program can't pass the rigorous national licensing exam.

"The issue with the school is, 'Are the students even qualified to take that exam in the first place,'" Department of Consumer Affairs spokesperson Russ Heimerich said.

The statewide average for nursing students passing the test is 75 percent; 65 percent is considered acceptable. In 2010, just 58 percent of the Oikos nursing graduatess passed; last year, just 41 percent.

"Their accreditation will likely be made provisional and it will be given some time to bring up that pass rate and if they don't then their accreditation will be withdrawn," Heimerich said.

He says the state will work with the university as it analyzes the problem and develops a corrective plan. But all that is on hold; classes re cancelled as the school and people from throughout the Bay Area mourn the students and staff who lost their lives.

Students picked up vehicles

Thursday night some students were able to get their cars out of a parking lot at Oikos University. Their cars were being held since Monday's shooting because they were part of the roped off crime scene.

Crime scene technicians are continuing their work inside the building on Edgewater Drive. The floor of the main hallway is still littered with evidence markers, but police won't say if they are shell casings.

Vic Lee, Lyanne Melendez, Carolyn Tyler, and John Alston contributed to this report.


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