Washington, Apr 4: A 38-year-old Sikkimese and a Tibetan American, who recently migrated from Dharamsala, were among the seven people killed by a disgruntled college student who carried out an execution type killing spree in a religious college in California that also left an Indian-American girl injured.
Oakland police Chief Howard Jordan said today morning that the victims came from India, Nepal, South Korea, Nigeria, and the Philippines.
Tshering Rinzing Bhutia, 38, of San Francisco, was killed when the gunman stole his car outside the school yesterday morning.
Bhutia was born in Sikkim and lived alone in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood and worked nights cleaning terminals in city's airport, Oakland Tribune reported.
He was also studying nursing at Oikos, a tiny Christian college and also worked in restaurants. Another shooting victim identified today was Sonam Choden, 33, who moved recently to the US here from India. “Many Tibetans, new immigrants, they go to that school to do LPN or CNA,” said Tenzin Tsedup of the Tibetan Association of Northern California.
She lived with her brother. Before moving to the United States, she had worked in education administration for Tibet's exiled government in Dharamsala.
Other identified victims include 21-year-old student Lydia Sim and 24-year-old Katleen Ping, authorities said. The Indian-American who was injured was Dawinder Kaur, who was shot in her right arm near elbow. She is nursing her injuries at a local hospital in Oakland, where the shooting incident happened yesterday, sending shock waves across the country.
The alleged suspect has been arrested by the Oakland Police, which local media outlets identified as 43-year-old One Goh, an American of Korean origin. Several of the victims were students of the Oikos University, a small religious college in the Southern Californian city.
According to the daily, Kaur told her family members that the alleged gunman, who had been absent from his class for past several months, suddenly appeared yesterday and ordered all the students to line up against a wall.
“He showed his gun and then the students started running,” Kaur told relatives.
Several of the victims were students of the Oikos University - a small religious college in the Southern Californian city.
Police Chief Jordan said the shooter walked into the single-story building, took a receptionist hostage and went looking for a particular female administrator.
The man walked into a classroom, lined up students against a wall and shot them one by one, Jordan said.
“This was a calculated, cold-blooded execution in the classroom,” Jordan was quoted as saying by CNN.
After the shooting, the man left the classroom, reloaded his semi-automatic weapon and returned, he said. Giving furtehr details of the incident, the daily said Kaur was shot in the arm as she helped a friend who had fallen on the classroom's floor; she then ran outside and called her brother, Paul Singh.
“She told me that a guy went crazy and she got shot. She was running. She was crying; she was bleeding, it was wrong,” Singh told Oakland Tribune.
Five people were declared dead on the spot, while two of the five wounded succumbed to injuries at the hospital.
Balvir Singh, Kaur's father, said that he was lucky that his daughter survived.
The family is “lucky she is alive,” he said. “We are thankful that God saved her. The gunman should get the full consequences that he deserves for doing this to these people,” Singh said.
Pastor Jong Kim, who founded the school about 10 years ago, told the Oakland Tribune that the shooter was a former nursing student, though he was unsure whether the man had been expelled or dropped.
Oikos University is a Christian university that focuses on nursing.
Television footage showed bloodied victims on stretchers being shifted into ambulances. It also showed some bodies covered in sheets were laid out on a patch of grass.
Earlier, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said most of the victims appeared to be from the city's Korean-American community, and the city was working to find multilingual counselors to help survivors.
Meanwhile, Bhutia's friend wish he had never come here. “I wish he had never come to this damn country. He was ill fated,” his friend Sandy Close said.
“He was highly intelligent. I got to know him as a waiter and ended up inviting him for Thanksgiving dinner for several years,” Close, the executive director of New America Media, said, adding, “he was pretty much isolated because there is no Sikkim community here.”
His landlord Prem Singh while described him as a very nice guy, said Bhutia stuck to a schedule, working at nights at the airport, then driving to the nursing school in his Honda Accord for morning classes before returning home each day around 1:30 pm.
He lived there since October 2006.