The tight-knit Korean American community in Oakland, California, was in shock yesterday after one of their own allegedly carried out a brutal shooting rampage at a religious college, killing seven people.
The latest US school shooting unfolded on Monday at a Christian college near San Francisco, when a former student allegedly shot someone at point-blank range in the chest before spraying a classroom with bullets.
The suspect — a local ethnic Korean who surrendered soon after the attacks at Oikos University in East Oakland, was described by a witness as looking “crazy” as he went on a shooting spree across the small campus.
Police — who arrived on the scene after a string of panicked emergency calls — did not immediately say what type of firearm the gunman used, or if he had multiple weapons.
About 35 people were in or near the building at the time. Of those, 10 were hit and five were pronounced dead at the scene. Two others died later in hospital. Survivors were found hiding in locked and darkened rooms.
“No American mayor wants to have this situation,” Oakland Mayor Jean Quan told reporters.
“It seems that in the last decade we’ve gotten used to seeing senseless mass killings like this ... This has been a terrible tragedy,” Quan said.
She said the city was trying to recruit more Korean--speaking grief counselors, saying the shooting “will leave the community asking questions for a long time.”
A memorial service was to be held at 6pm yesterday.
The gunman was detained near a Safeway supermarket in the neighboring city of Alameda, where he had fled in a car after the massacre, Oakland police chief Howard Jordan said.
“The suspect, who is believed to be an Oakland resident, surrendered to officers of the Alameda Police Department,” he said. “He actually commandeered a victim’s car, and drove it to Alameda.”
Jordan said the suspect was believed to be a former student at the college with no previous criminal record.
“He is a Korean national,” Jordan said, without specifying if he was from South or North Korea, and gave his name as Ko One-goh, aged 43.