Gunman kills seven in university rampage

 

At least seven people were killed and three others wounded after a gunman opened fire yesterday at a Christian college in California.

The gunfire erupted around midmorning at Oikos University in east Oakland, reportedly inside a lecture room where a nursing class was being held. Oakland police spokesman Johnna Watson said seven people had been killed and three others wounded.

Local television showed bloodied victims on stretchers being loaded into ambulances. Several bodies covered in sheets were laid out on a patch of grass.

The suspect, said to be a former student, was taken into custody in the neighbouring city of Alameda after spending hours on the run.

It is believed the gunman had acted alone in the mid-morning shooting, but officials did not immediately identify him and declined to offer a motive for the rampage.

The college is popular with students from the Catholic Korean community, and according to its website, offers studies in music and nursing.

Officer Watson said the suspect is an Asian male in his 40s, but would not confirm if he was a student. She said most of the wounded or dead were shot inside the building.

"It's a very fluid situation and an active investigation," said Officer Watson, declining to discuss details of the arrest or a possible motive.

Local television reports had earlier shown police evacuating Oikos students and loading them into a SWAT vehicle as other armed officers took up positions around the private Christian college.

Angie Johnson, 52, told the San Francisco Chronicle that she saw a young woman leave the building with blood coming from her arm and crying: "I've been shot. I've been shot."

The injured woman said the shooter was a man in her nursing class who got up and shot one person at point-blank range in the chest before spraying the room with bullets, Ms Johnson said. "She said he looked crazy all the time," Ms Johnson said the victim told her, "but they never knew how far he would go."

Deborah Lee, who was in an English language class, said she heard five to six gunshots at first. "The teacher said, 'Run', and we run," she said. "I was OK, because I know God protects me."

Nearby businesses were evacuated immediately following the rampage and shut down for the day as officers searched the school and surrounding area. A spokeswoman for nearby Highland Memorial Hospital declined to comment on the condition of the victims being treated there.

The shooting comes just over a month after a student gunman in Ohio opened fire in a high school cafeteria, killing three students in the deadliest shooting rampage at a US high school in six years.

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