COMMENTARY | Days after 43-year-old shooting suspect One Goh walked into a California Christian college and killed seven people, questions remain about the shooting. One of the more salient is that of motive. Authorities believe there were several contributing factors that led to the shooting but anger over an inability to be reimbursed for his tuition might have been the leading causal factor. And although the Associated Press reported Oikos University founder Jongjin Kim believes the shootings were of random people, the victims were predominantly women. So was the suspect specifically targeting women?
Of those killed, at least five were women. According to reports, the gunman walked into the Oikos classroom Monday and sprayed the room with bullets.
Oakland Police Officer Officer Robert Trevino said in an affidavit that Goh admitted to kidnapping a female at the school and forcing her to accompany him into a classroom, where he subsequently shot several people. Witnesses indicated he had lined people against the wall before shooting them with a .45-calibre handgun.
Police also noted Goh was looking for a specific school administrator, a female. After being told she wasn't there, the former student began his rampage.
Ellen Cervellon, director of the nursing program at Oikos University , said Wednesday she believed she was the intended target but wasn't in attendance Monday. Police have indicated Cervellon might not have been the actual target. Instead, a female administrator that no longer worked at Oikos may have been the intended target.
Goh had had three meetings with administrators at Oikos regarding his tuition. He had been dissatisfied with his nursing class and not being able to get his entire tuition reimbursed, but had worked with school officials to get transferred to another nursing class. He voluntarily stopped attending classes last semester, Cervellon said, which directly contradicted the words of Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan, who earlier said Goh had been angry due to being expelled.
It is as yet unclear if Jordan was relating information provided by the gunman.
Goh was charged with seven counts of murder Wednesday in a California court. He was also charged with three counts of attempted murder and a special circumstance allegation of multiple murders that could make him eligible for the death penalty. He did not enter a plea and will be brought back into court for a hearing on April 9. His only words during the proceedings was a simple "Yes" when the judge asked if he understood the charges being brought against him.
A handgun was later recovered with serial numbers matching one that Goh bought late last year, a police spokesperson confirmed.
Although Oikos founder Kim believed that those killed by the shooter were random victims, the fact that most of those victims were female may not have been. Fueled by anger at the school and a particular female official, those killed appear to be victims of opportunity but their gender may have contributed to them being selected as proxies.
Oikos nursing professor Romie John Delariman said that despite reports that Goh, a South Korean immigrant, was teased about his English, he spoke English well. However, Delariman noted he had a problem working with females.
"He can't stand women," Delariman told the Associated Press . "He said he never used to work with women, or deal with women in a work setting or a school setting."
Efanye Chibuko, whose wife, Doris Chibuko, was one of Monday's victims, said that his spouse was afraid of Goh and fearful that he would do exactly what he did.
"She was afraid he would do something like he did," he said. "She knew the other victims, and they talked about it. They were afraid that he was going to come back and do what he did."
Chibuko said he was personally angry with the school for not providing better security at the small Christian college.
The deadly incident at Oikos University was the worst college shooting since the Virginia Tech rampage in 2007 , where a South Korean student named Seung-Hui Cho walked into a classroom and killed 32 people before killing himself. It remains the single-most deadly school shooting in U. S. history.
In 2005, 16-year-old Jeffrey Weise entered his high school at Red Lake, Minnesota , and killed seven people. Prior to his arrival at the school, he shot and killed his grandfather and his grandfather's girlfriend at their home. After wandering through the school firing at random, he killed himself.
Weise's rampage is the most deadly high school shooting to occur in the U. S. since the Columbine High School killings in 1999, where two students, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, shot to death 12 fellow students and a teacher before turning their weapons on themselves.