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Seven people were killed and three others wounded when a gunman opened fire at a Christian university in Oakland this morning, Oakland police said. Oakland City Council president Larry Reid said this afternoon that six had died and three were wounded, but police have since confirmed that the death toll is seven. The shooting occurred around 10:30 a.m. at Oikos University, located at 7850 Edgewater Drive.
This afternoon, students who had fled the shooting returned for their belongings and community members turned up looking for loved ones. The university is a Christian school that offers courses of study in Asian medicine, theology, music and nursing, according to its website. Many of its students are Korean, an instructor said. Timothy Yi, a pastor with the Hayward Korean Baptist Church, stood outside the school this afternoon trying to get word about one of the students, 20-year-old Lydia Sim.
Yi said he had been contacted by Sim’s parents, who haven’t been able to get in touch with her.Police have detained the alleged gunman, Oakland police spokeswoman Officer Johnna Watson said. “We do believe we have detained an individual responsible for the shooting at the college,” Watson said.The suspect was located at a Safeway store at 2227 South Shore Center in Alameda, Alameda police said.
Police in that city received a report at 11:17 a.m. of a suspicious man sitting in the area wanting to talk to police.Officers arrived and spoke with the man, and determined that he had been involved in the shooting at Oikos University, Alameda police said.The suspect was described as an Asian male with a heavy build wearing tan or khaki clothing. Police have detained that person and are working to confirm no other shooters were involved, Watson said.
Deborah Lee, 25, a student from China who is studying at Oikos, said she was in an ESL class when she heard four or five pops that sounded like firecrackers.She said her teacher left the room to see what was going on, then she heard a person yell, “Someone has a gun! Her teacher told the students to run, and everyone ran out of the classroom and left the school.
As of this afternoon, Lee was still waiting to get to her car, which was parked near the school within the perimeter set up by police. Lucas Garcia, 33, of San Jose, teaches ESL at the school. He said he heard half a dozen gunshots then looked outside the classroom and heard that someone had a gun. He said he heard six more gunshots, and that he and his students fled.
Garcia said most of his students are from Korea, but that students in the university’s nursing program are from all over.Bob Aiello, who works as a union representative at a Teamsters Local 70 facility nearby at 400 Roland Way, said he saw emergency responders bring four or five bodies out of the school. U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer released a statement today in response to the shooting. “My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those killed in this senseless tragedy,” Boxer said. “I am praying for a full and speedy recovery for all those injured in today’s shooting.”
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