OAKLAND, Calif. — With the horrors of a deadly shooting rampage still a fresh memory, some students at a California Christian college returned to class Monday in a building where seven people were killed earlier this month.
Oakland's Oikos University – still draped with a memorial banner, wreaths and flower bouquets – held a single English-as-a-second-language class three weeks after police said a nursing student fatally shot six of his fellow students and a receptionist.
The small school in an industrial area of the city has been busy preparing to resume operations by replacing carpet and removing bloodstains and bullet scars.
One L. Goh, 43, a native of South Korea who had become a U.S. citizen, was charged with seven counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder. He has not yet entered a plea.
Lucas Garcia, who was teaching Monday's class, was in the building at the time of the shootings. He has been spending time getting in touch with students since the attack and believes it's important to come back to campus and move on.
"They feel very scared and are dealing with a lot of emotions about what happened," Garcia said. "They're dealing with symptoms of a very traumatic experience."
Arriving students declined to talk to reporters.
In a previous jailhouse interview with KPIX-TV, Goh said he is deeply sorry about the shooting.
"I only remember parts of that day and it is too hard to talk about," Goh told the station, at times weeping.
Goh has not eaten since his April 3 arrival at the Santa Rita Jail, Alameda County sheriff's spokesman Sgt. J.D. Nelson said Monday.
Goh has lost about 20 pounds and is only drinking water, and he was moved to the jail infirmary Friday, Nelson said. Doctors are monitoring Goh's condition.
"He has the right not to eat. We cannot force him to eat," Nelson said.
Back at Oikos, school dean Jongjin Kim said most students will take classes in the same building where the shootings occurred, with nursing students permitted to attend Unitek College in Fremont.
Goh went to the campus April 2 after becoming angry over a tuition dispute, Kim has said. The school had refused to reimburse $4,000 to $6,000 in tuition after Goh dropped out last fall.
Police said he arrived at the school that day with a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun, which was later found in a nearby waterway. They said he may have been targeting certain staff members.
When Goh learned his intended targets were not at the school, police said, he began opening fire in classrooms. Police said he tried to line up victims then started firing when some cooperated and others did not.
Those killed were students Doris Chibuko, 40; Judith Seymour, 53; Grace EunHea Kim, 23; Lydia Sim, 21; Bhutia Tshering, 38; Sonam Choedon, 33; and secretary Katleen Ping, 24.