US community in shock after school gun rampage

OAKLAND, California - The tight-knit Korean American community here was in shock Tuesday after one of their own allegedly carried out a brutal shooting rampage at a religious college, killing seven people.

The latest American 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.

Some 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."

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 6:00 pm (6:00 am local time) Tuesday.

The gunman was detained near a Safeway supermarket in the neighboring city of Alameda, where he had fled in a car after the massacre, said Oakland police chief Howard Jordan.

"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 One Goh, age 43.

The Oakland Tribune reported that the suspect's brother, US Army Sergeant Su Wan Ko, died in a traffic accident in Virginia in March 2011 while on special assignment from a research institute in Germany. One Goh reportedly attended the memorial service.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency, citing officials at the South Korean consulate in San Francisco, identified the shooter as Ko Won-Il, a US citizen of Korean descent.

Police described the suspect as "male, Asian, heavy build, khaki clothing."

Lisa Resler, 41, said she was leaving the Safeway supermarket in Alameda with her daughter when she saw store security confronting a young Asian man, whom she described as looking "very sedated" as he was handcuffed.

Within minutes of the mid-morning shooting, SWAT teams took up position around the building, some smashing glass with sledgehammers and rushing inside as officers helped students evacuate, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Angie Johnson, 52, said she saw a young woman leaving the building with blood coming from her arm and crying: "I've been shot, I've been shot."

The wounded woman said the shooter was a man in her nursing class who rose up and shot one person in the chest, then began firing wildly in the classroom, Johnson told the Chronicle.

"She said he looked crazy all the time," Johnson said, quoting the victim. "But they never knew how far he would go."

The female victim "had a hole in her right arm the size of a silver dollar with blood coming down," Johnson said.

Oakland City Council President Larry Reid told CNN the motive for the killings was unclear. "That information will come out during the legal process that he now finds himself in," he said.

The school, which offers degrees in nursing, biblical studies and Christian ministry, says "students are given the opportunity to obtain a Christian education that is based on solid Christian doctrine and ideology.

"Our main goal is to foster spiritual Christian leaders who abide by God's intentions and to expand God's nation through them."

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