Korean pleads not guilty over Oakland college shootings

Posted at 05/01/2012 9:42 AM | Updated as of 05/01/2012 3:57 PM

OAKLAND, California - A Korean-American former nursing student pleaded not guilty Monday to killing seven people in an execution-style shooting rampage at a religious college in California.

One Goh, 43 -- who has refused to eat for several weeks -- is charged with seven counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder for the April 2 shooting at Oikos University, a small Christian school in Oakland.

Law enforcement officials say Goh, a US citizen originally from South Korea, was angry about a denied tuition refund when he arrived at his former school with a .45-caliber gun and four loaded magazines of ammunition.

Apparently unsuccessful in locating the administrator he sought, Goh opened fire and "essentially executed" seven people and wounded three others, prosecutors said.

After fleeing the scene in a victim's car, Goh admitted to a grocery store security guard that he had killed several people, according to a police statement included in court filings.

Goh -- who officials say left the school voluntarily last November -- also admitted "kidnapping a woman and forcing her from her office into a classroom at gunpoint," the statement says.

Those killed were: Doris Chibuko, 40; Judith Ona Seymour, 53; Grace EunHea Kim, 23; Lydia Sim, 21; Tshering Rinzing Bhutia; Sonam Choedon, 33; and Katleen Ping, 24. All were students except Ping, who was an administrative worker.

Prosecutors will decide whether to seek the death penalty after a judge holds a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence for the case to go to trial -- a routine step in US courts.

Alameda County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sergeant J.D. Nelson said Goh has lost about 20 pounds as a result of refusing to eat for several weeks.

The defendant is drinking liquids and has not given a reason for refusing food. Nelson said he would not characterize the act as a suicide attempt or a hunger strike.

"He has the right not to eat," Nelson said. "We can't force him to eat."

The college where the shootings took place offers degrees in nursing, biblical studies and Christian ministry.

Its website says "students are given the opportunity to obtain a Christian education that is based on solid Christian doctrine and ideology."

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