Accused Oakland shooter, refusing food, to appear in court

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 28, 2012 9:28 AM
Accused Oakland shooter, refusing food, to appear in court

By Ronnie Cohen

OAKLAND, California (Reuters) - A former nursing student accused of killing seven people and wounding three others in a shooting rampage at a tiny Christian college in Oakland is due to enter a plea on Monday after refusing food since his arrest almost four weeks ago.

One Goh, 43, faces seven counts of murder with special circumstances allegations that make him eligible for the death penalty, and three counts of attempted murder.

The shooting spree on April 2 at Oikos University was the deadliest on an American college campus since 2007, when a Virginia Tech University student killed 32 people and wounded 25 others before taking his own life.

Goh was transferred from his cell to a jail infirmary about ten days ago because of his refusal to eat, Sergeant J. D. Nelson of the Alameda County Sheriff's Office said, adding that the defendant has been drinking water.

"He feels shame," said Nelson, who described Goh's food refusal as neither a hunger strike nor a suicide attempt. "He may have shamed his culture, his religion, his family."

Authorities say they believe Goh became angry after the vocational school in an industrial area near the Oakland Airport refused to refund his tuition.

Under questioning following his arrest, Goh told investigators he went to the school armed with a .45-caliber handgun and four magazines fully loaded with ammunition, according to court documents filed by prosecutors.

The court papers say Goh confessed to kidnapping a school administrator and forcing her at gunpoint from her office into a classroom. Inside the classroom, the document said, Goh killed several people before fleeing in a student's car.

Prosecutors say they will decide whether to seek the death penalty following the preliminary hearing, in which a judge will decide if there is enough evidence for Goh to stand trial.

Also on Monday, relatives and friends plan to gather in a Catholic church in Hayward, California, for the funeral of Doris Chibuko, a 40-year-old mother of four young children killed in the attack.

Oikos University, founded in 2004 by a Presbyterian minister from Korea, reopened last week for the first time since the slayings.

(Editing by Mary Slosson, Dan Whitcomb and Vicki Allen)