Oakland, Calif. — One Goh’s life was on the skids even before he became the suspect in the nation’s biggest mass school shooting since Virginia Tech.
He was chased by creditors. He grieved the death of his brother. In January, he was expelled from Oikos University, a small Christian school where he studied nursing. And, police say, he was angry.
Goh, who was born in South Korea, told them he felt disrespected by teasing about his poor English skills at the Oakland school — a college founded as a safe place where Korean immigrants could adjust to a new country and build new careers.
So, he bought a gun, and a few weeks later took his revenge, opening fire at the college on Monday in a rampage that left six students and a receptionist dead and wounded three more, authorities said.
“It’s very, very sad,” police Chief Howard Jordan said. “We have seven people who didn’t deserve to die and three others wounded because someone who couldn’t deal with the pressures of life.”
Police have released little background information about Goh, other than to say he had become a U.S. citizen.
A nursing professor who taught him said Goh would often tell a story about beating someone up who tried to mug him in San Francisco. Romie John Delariman said Goh would say that he picked fights at a park when he was bored.
“Sometimes he would brag that he was capable of hurting people,” Delariman told The Associated Press. “He said he was too old to go school with all the young people, and he said all his classmates were mean to him.”
Delariman said Goh suddenly stopped attending his classes in October, after being a regular participant in twice-weekly clinical courses.
Since his arrest at a supermarket near the school soon after the shooting, the details of his life that have emerged suggest a man struggling to deal with personal and family difficulties over the past 10 years.
Though records list an Oakland address for Goh in 2004, he lived for most of the decade in Virginia. That state was the site of the Virginia Tech massacre that killed 32 people in 2007. That gunman was a mentally ill student who turned the gun on himself.