Nursing Director Thinks She was Target of Shooter

By: Terry Collins, Associated Press
By: Terry Collins, Associated Press

Nursing Director Thinks She was Target of Shooter
by Garance Burke and Terry Collins

Oakland, CA (AP) - An administrator at a small Christian university where seven people were killed this week said Wednesday she was the gunman's primary intended target after she rejected his repeated requests for a refund of his tuition.

Ellen Cervellon, director of the nursing program at Oikos University, wasn't on campus Monday when her former student, One Goh, came looking for her then went on his rampage.

Two days later, in an interview with The Associated Press, a shaken Cervellon said the murders are haunting her.

"I have that weight on my shoulders and I don't know what to do with it," she said, her voice quavering. "Every single one of those students were going to be an excellent, excellent nurse. They're in my heart, and they always will be."

Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan confirmed Cervellon was the apparent target. Officer Johnna Watson, a police spokeswoman, said later that police are looking into the possibility that other administrators had been targeted.

Goh, 43, was charged Wednesday with seven counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder, plus a special circumstance allegation of committing multiple murders that could make him eligible for the death penalty.

Shackled and showing little emotion, Goh said nothing during a brief court appearance other than a soft "yes" when the judge asked if he understood the charges. He did not enter a plea.

In a police affidavit, Officer Robert Trevino said Goh acknowledged going to Oikos on Monday with a .45-caliber handgun and four magazines of ammunition.

"He admitted to kidnapping a woman and forcing her from her office into a classroom at gunpoint," Trevino said in the statement. "He admitted to shooting and killing several people inside the classroom, before taking one of the victim's car keys and fleeing the scene in the victim's car."

Police arrested Goh about an hour after the shooting spree at a supermarket a few miles from campus.

A student wounded in the rampage said Goh burst into the classroom shouting and quickly began firing his weapon. Ahmad Sayeed was shot through the shoulder as he scrambled to get out with other panicked students.

The 36-year-old immigrant nursing student from Afghanistan says he did not understand what Goh was yelling, though he did hear him order students to line up in front of the classroom.

Sayeed said he has been this frightened once before - when the Taliban attacked his high school in the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

"The exact thing happened at my school," Sayeed said. "The Taliban came in and killed five students. I was very afraid then, too."

Cervellon said Goh dropped out of the nursing program at the tiny private school around November but returned numerous times to ask her for a full tuition refund.

Goh got angry when she told him the school could not refund all his money because he had been enrolled for nearly half of the program, she said. Cervellon said she did not know how much Goh had paid in tuition.

Police have said Goh was seeking a female administrator when he went to the campus Monday. When he was told she wasn't there, they said, he began shooting in classrooms, killing six students and a receptionist and wounding three others.

Jordan previously said Goh was angry after being expelled from the school, but Cervellon said he was never expelled and decided to leave on his own.

"He was never forced out, he showed no behavioral problems, and he was never asked to leave the program," she said. "He decided on his own to leave the program."

Police said they made contact with Cervellon after the AP story ran.

Jordan said investigators plan to interview her soon, and that many details were still unclear.

"We were told by witnesses that he was kicked out, but there could be some facts that he wasn't," Jordan said. "I do know that he was trying to get his down payment or tuition reimbursed."

During previous meetings with Cervellon, Goh also said he felt his classmates were picking on him at the school, which was founded to help Korean immigrants adjust to life in America and launch new careers, she said. Goh is a native of South Korean who became a U.S. citizen.

Jordan has said Goh also was upset because other students had teased him about his poor English skills.

However, Cervellon and nursing professor Romie John Delariman said they never heard about or witnessed Goh being ridiculed for problems with English. Delariman said Goh was a good student who didn't seem to struggle with his second language.

"He was a full-time student and was really motivated. If I taught something he would be the first person in line to do it," Delariman said.

Still, Goh appeared to be the aggressor in exchanges with others at the school, according to Efanye Chibuko, whose wife Doris Chibuko was among those killed in Monday's attack.

Chibuko said his wife, a native of Nigeria who was elected president of her nursing class, felt Goh was unstable.

"My wife was afraid of him," he told the AP. "She was afraid he would do something like he did. 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's angry with school officials for not doing more to protect the students.

"They were all living in fear. My wife told me the guy had been violent toward the school staff and had kicked the walls and stuff like that," he said. "So they knew. They should have had security in place."

Delariman said he noticed that Goh had problems, in particular, dealing with women in his predominantly female nursing classes.

"He can't stand women," Delariman said. "He said he never used to work with women, or deal with women in a work setting or a school setting."

Online records in two Virginia localities where he lived show that, while Goh was there, he racked up tens of thousands of dollars in liens and judgments, including a $10,377 debt to SunTrust Bank in 2006.

It's unclear how Goh earned a living before he became a nursing student at the school of about 100 students. His instructors and a former employer said he previously worked in construction.


Officials: 7 Dead in Christian School Shooting

UPDATE April 2, 2012

Oakland, CA (AP) - Police in California say seven people have died in a shooting attack at a Christian university.

Spokeswoman Cynthia Perkins confirmed the death count Monday afternoon. She did not release any other details about the victims, but said city officials planned a news conference later.

Earlier in the day, police detained a person believed to be responsible in the shooting at Oikos University. They have not released the person's identity or discussed a possible motive.


Oakland, CA (AP) - A gunman opened fire at a Christian university in California Monday, killing at least six people and wounding three more, authorities said. Police say they have a suspect in custody.

The shooting erupted around midmorning at Oikos University in Oakland and left six dead, according to City Council President Larry Reid, who said he was told the count by the police chief.

Police believe the shooter acted alone, Reid said. Authorities have not discussed a possible motive.

The suspect was taken into custody in the neighboring city of Alameda, according to law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

Officer Johnna Watson did not give any other details about the suspect.

Authorities earlier described him as a heavyset Korean man in his 40s wearing khaki clothing.

"I can confirm that we do have one person who has been detained that we believe is possibly responsible for this shooting," Watson said.

KTVU-TV reported that the shooter was a student and opened fire in a classroom.

Earlier, television news footage showed a chaotic scene as heavily armed officers swarmed into the building, located in a large industrial park near the Oakland airport.

The footage also showed bloodied victims on stretchers being loaded into ambulances. Several bodies covered in sheets were laid out on a patch of grass.

Pastor Jong Kim, who founded the school about 10 years ago, told the Oakland Tribune that the shooter was a nursing student who was no longer enrolled. He did not know if the shooter was expelled or dropped out.

Kim said he heard about 30 rapid-fire gunshots in the building.

"I stayed in my office," he said.

Deborah Lee, who was in an English language class, said she heard five to six gunshots at first. "The teacher said, `Run,' and we run," she said. "I was OK, because I know God protects me. I'm not afraid of him."

Angie Johnson told the San Francisco Chronicle that she saw a young woman leave the building with blood coming from her arm and crying: "I've been shot. I've been shot."

The injured woman said the shooter was a man in her nursing class who got up and shot one person at point-blank range in the chest before spraying the room with bullets, Johnson said.

"She said he looked crazy all the time," she said the victim told her, "but they never knew how far he would go."

According to its website, Oikos University offers studies in theology, music, nursing and Asian medicine. A telephone message left on the university's voicemail was not immediately returned.

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  • by Get over yourself black on Apr 5, 2012 at 06:38 AM
    seems like your the only racist on this site...every story you post on has something to do with race--are you fuming over the animal cruelty case? I think some of those dead cats where black dare they treat a black cat like that? I can't believe that with a tragedy like this you all you can think about is a color? get over it and get past the color of one's skin. And for God's sake get a life and go have some fun--or is the white man's fault too?
    • reply
      by BLACK on Apr 5, 2012 at 09:28 AM in reply to Get over yourself black
      dude, you cant read or what? i read. apparently you dont. i am so not racist, just read comments on this site and see how people react to things and it disgusts me. dude, you racist. a tragedy like this??????look at all the murders and their comments and see THE DIFFERENCE. AND THAT IT WHAT IS NOT RIGHT.CAUSE IT WOULD HAVE BEEN BLACK/WHITE CRIME YOU KNOW DARN WELL THE SITE WOULD HAVE OVER 200 COMMENTS OF NASTY SAYINGS. PERIOD. i aint blind dude, i read...
  • by BLACK on Apr 4, 2012 at 02:38 PM
    see, only 8 comments about this story. the shooter would have been black, oh my god, we would have so many nasty comments....but now, he is asian,,,nothing to say....sad....this dude killed 6 females and one male, frankly, pretty people but that dude is a coward, fpr doing what he did
    • reply
      by really... on Apr 5, 2012 at 08:14 AM in reply to BLACK
      YOu mean if it was all black people that were killed by a white man you would see more comments, a march, protest, ect....Get real Black!
      • reply
        by BLACK on Apr 5, 2012 at 09:24 AM in reply to really...
        no no, you got it twisted, if a black dude murdered 7 people, you know as well as i do, this site would be overloaded with nasty comments. and you know it is true. gross but true. they wouldnt talk as much if the white man was a killer. now you know i am being real!!!!
  • by Anonymous on Apr 3, 2012 at 12:05 PM
    if you were a criminal, where would you do your crimes?? it only makes sense to do them where your victims can't by law defend themselves. You see that 7 persons died before the law was on scene, most likely died before 911 was ever called all because people dont want you to be able to defend yourself in certain places. How many would have had to die if only one person was there that has a CWP and could have used their weapon to take out the shooter? Remember that the police dont prevent crime against you, they only investigate the crime after it happens. The US supreme court has ruled that the police do not have the obligation to protect you as a person, only society as a whole. Better start learning to protect yourself and your family. And to all who are antigunners, I do hope to god that you never are the victim of a serious crime that you could have saved yourself from had you just had a concealed weapon on you.
  • by dog Location: gone on Apr 3, 2012 at 06:48 AM
    The shooter was a Korean National , How about the IMMIGRATION LAWS ?
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Apr 3, 2012 at 09:57 AM in reply to dog
      Did he violate any immigration laws? Saying he was a Korean national only says he was from Korea, and doesn't say anything about legality of him being here in the U.S.
      • reply
        by BLACK on Apr 4, 2012 at 02:39 PM in reply to
        i thing dog gone is upset cause he has nothing to say: the shooter was not black!!!! he usually is very racist...
  • by Chicken Gutz on Apr 3, 2012 at 02:54 AM
    Guns, God,and Glory is a potent mixture. Guns don't kill people, the dim-wits who own them do.
  • by Mac Location: Tallahassee on Apr 2, 2012 at 04:08 PM
    Once again we have proof that the NRA has it exactly right. Guns don't kill people: gun-owners kill people.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Apr 2, 2012 at 05:21 PM in reply to Mac
      And once again we have proof that the Brady Bunch will climb upon the still warm bodies of the victims, to voice their bumper sticker mentality.
    • reply
      by M on Apr 2, 2012 at 07:27 PM in reply to Mac
      Actually the NRA DOES have it right. California is an extremely anti-gun rights state. For the most part, those who have are criminals because law abiding citizens are restricted of their rights.
    • reply
      by Think Mac on Apr 3, 2012 at 06:35 AM in reply to Mac
      Mac, one would think that it should not be too awful painful for you to think this through: Criminals kill people in this manner. Criminals don't care about laws restricting ownership of firearms. Only law abiding citizens with a legitimate need OR DESIRE to protect themselves do. The NRA works very hard to protect those God given and Constitutionally protected rights. Historically speaking, the people who dislike the NRA tend to be the criminal element . . . and you. Huuummmmmm, pure coincidence? Or is there a lesson you need to learn in there . . . ?
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