Crime & Justice

Suspect in Oakland Christian college shooting rampage charged; could face death penalty

An Oakland Police cruiser waits in front of Oikos University where a gunman went on a shooting rampage, April 4, 2012 in Oakland.
An Oakland Police cruiser waits in front of Oikos University where a gunman went on a shooting rampage, April 4, 2012 in Oakland.
Jonathan Gibby/Getty Images

Prosecutors charged One Goh with seven murder charges Wednesday for the fatal shooting rampage at Oakland Christian college Oikos University on Monday.

Suspect One Goh, 43, appeared calm as the judge read the charges against him. In addition to the felony murder charges, Goh was also charged with three counts of attempted murder., carjacking and kidnapping. The charges make Goh eligible for the death penalty.

After the arraignment Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said she’ll decide whether to seek the death penalty after a preliminary hearing. O’Malley said Goh, in her words, "committed crimes of such enormity and brutality that our community, our country and citizens around the world are reeling."

In court papers, the D.A.’s office says a Safeway security officer called police on Monday to report that "a man admitted to shooting several people in Oakland."

After Goh was taken in custody, three witnesses and surviving victims positively identified him as the person who entered Oikos University. The court papers also say Goh admitted going to the school in Oakland with a .45 caliber handgun and four fully loaded magazines of ammunition."

Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan later said investigators believe Goh fired all his rounds. Police have confirmed that the university’s nursing program director Ellen Cervellon was the suspect's intended target. Police say that when Goh learned she wasn't there at the time, he started shooting in classrooms.

The court issued an order that Goh not contact the three surviving victims.

It was difficult to see the suspect in the courtroom; he was enclosed in a glass box. He only said one word: "Yes," when asked to confirm that his name is One Goh. Goh was represented in the hearing by a public defender.

"In talking to several of the students and faculty who were there, I think he was looking for me," said the college's nursing director, Ellen Cervellon, her voice quavering. "I have that weight on my shoulders and I don't know what to do with it."

"Every single one of those students were going to be an excellent, excellent nurse. They're in my heart, and they always will be," she said.

There was no difference in how presiding judge Sandra K. Beane read the counts against Goh from how she read them for any other person arraigned Wednesday.

The courtroom was packed, with numerous reporters at the hearing. There didn't appear to be family members of the victims there.

The next scheduled court date is April 30 at 2 p.m.

This story has been updated.