Dechen Yangzon and seven other students were inside a nursing class at Oikos University Monday morning when they heard gunshots next door. Yangzon quickly ushered inside students who were in the hallway, locked the door and turned off the lights.
The classmates huddled behind desks and waited as they heard the gunman try to open the door. When he couldn't get in, he began shooting.
"Bullets came through the door, but no one was hit," Yangzon's husband, Tashi Wangchuk, said.
Like others concerned about their family and friends, Wangchuk came to the school Monday to find out if Yangzon was alive. Police ushered him behind the yellow crime-scene tape, where he was reunited with his shaken wife. When she told him what happened, he said, "She's a hero."
But others at the small vocational school others met a different fate. Seven people were killed and three sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
The six women and one man who were murdered were all adults over 21-years-old and were from several different countries, including Korea and Nigeria, Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan told reporters Tuesday morning. Most were students; one victim was a school secretary.
Police identified the gunman Monday evening as 43-year-old One Goh, an American citizen of Korean descent and former Oikos student who lives in Oakland. Officers said Goh does not have a criminal record.
Jordan said the school had expelled Goh for behavioral issues.
According to police, Goh was seated in a classroom before he stood up, brandishing a handgun, and opened fire on the students. He then proceeded to move throughout the school, shooting as he went.
Dawinder Kaur, 19, of Santa Clara, who was shot in the arm, said that Goh told students to line up along a wall, then opened fire, according to Kaur's brother-in-law, Gurpreet Sahota.
Sahota said that Kaur, a U.S. Army Reservist, managed to escape, and helped another student get out of the classroom as well. Kaur was released from the hospital Monday afternoon and is resting at home.
Kaur said the shooter used to be a student but hadn't been in class in five months, according to Sahota.
According to Jordan, Goh was looking for a particular administrator at the school when he started his rampage. But while Jordan would not reveal her name, he said that she was not at the school at the time.
Goh was also upset with several students for teasing him, Jordan said.
Police said Goh began shooting at about 10:30 a.m., then stole another student’s car and left the school grounds before officers arrived.
At 10:33 a.m., dispatchers received the first call about “a woman on the ground bleeding,” Jordan said. Police arrived at 10:36 a.m. to find "an extremely chaotic scene,” he said.
Because the doors were locked, police broke in through a window, and worked their way from room to room. They found some students who were hiding, along with more bodies and victims who later died from their injuries at local hospitals. Officers were not yet aware that Goh had already left.
“Officers found several victims throughout the classroom, throughout the building. Several people were hiding in locked doors, behind desks. They were very frightened, very scared,” Jordan said.
A total of about 35 people had been inside the school at the time of the shooting, but some fled the building before police arrived. Officers set up a perimeter around the school and neighboring streets.
As emergency responders, including several police officers from neighboring agencies, began treating the victims, investigators tracked down a photo of Goh and drove to his Oakland home and a relative’s house.
Meanwhile, Goh drove to a nearby shopping center in Alameda. Less than an hour after the shootings began, he was in police custody.
Lisa Resler, 41, who lives nearby, said she had stopped at the Safeway to pick up some fruit for her 4-year-old daughter when she noticed a man wearing a beanie looking in her direction.
"He looked directly at me," she said, describing his gaze as a deer-in-the-headlights look.
She didn't think much of it, and grabbed a mango, an orange and three apples from the produce section, then paid for the fruit and headed back to her car.