OAKLAND – A portrait of the suspect in a fatal shooting rampage at a California college emerged Wednesday as an angry, unstable man who had trouble dealing with women and likely targeted the female nursing program director for a financial dispute with his former school.
School officials and former associates spoke about One Goh, as he made his first appearance in court after being charged on seven counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder, plus special circumstances of committing multiple murders that could make him eligible for the death penalty.
Police have released little background information about Goh, other than to say the South Korean native had become a U.S. citizen.
Shackled and showing little emotion, Goh said nothing during the brief appearance other than a soft "yes" when the judge asked if he understood the charges. He did not enter a plea.
Ellen Cervellon told The Associated Press that suspect One Goh dropped out of the nursing program at Oakland's Oikos University around November, but had come back to the campus numerous times to ask her for a full tuition refund.
Goh got angry when she told him the school could not refund all his money because he had been enrolled for nearly half of the program, she said.
Police have said Goh was seeking a female administrator when he went to the Oakland campus Monday morning. When he was told she wasn't there, they said, he began shooting in classrooms, killing six students and a receptionist and wounding three others.
"In talking to several of the students and faculty who were there, I think he was looking for me. I have that weight on my shoulders and I don't know what to do with it," she told The Associated Press, her voice quavering with emotion. "Every single one of those students were going to be an excellent, excellent nurse. They're in my heart, and they always will be."
Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan told reporters Tuesday that Goh was angry after being expelled from the school, but Cervellon said he was never expelled and decided to leave on his own.
"He was never forced out, he showed no behavioral problems, and he was never asked to leave the program," she said. "He decided on his own to leave the program."
Cervellon said police have not yet spoken with her.
Chief Jordan confirmed Wednesday that Cervellon was the gunman's intended target. He said investigators plan to interview her soon, and that many facts still were unclear amid the active investigation.
"We were told by witnesses that he was kicked out, but there could be some facts that he wasn't. I do know that he was trying to get his down payment or tuition reimbursed," Jordan said.
During previous meetings with Cervellon, Goh also said he felt his classmates were picking on him at the school, which was founded to help Korean immigrants adjust to life in America and launch new careers, she said.
Jordan has said that in addition to Goh's dispute with school officials, he was upset because other students had teased him about his poor English skills.
Cervellon and nursing professor, Romie John Delariman, said they never heard about or witnessed Goh being ridiculed for problems with English.
Delariman said Goh was a good student who didn't seem to struggle with his second language.
"He was a fulltime student and was really motivated. If I taught something he would be the first person in line to do it," Delariman said.
If anything, Goh appeared to be the aggressor in his exchanges with others at the school, according to Efanye Chibuko, whose wife Doris Chibuko was among those killed in Monday's attack.
Chibuko said his wife, a native of Nigeria who was elected president of her nursing class, felt Goh was unstable.
"My wife was afraid of him," he told The AP on Wednesday. "She was afraid he would do something like he did. She knew the other victims, and they talked about it. They were afraid that he was going to come back and do what he did."
Chibuko said he's angry with school officials for not doing more to protect the students.
"They were all living in fear. My wife told me the guy had been violent toward the school staff and had kicked the walls and stuff like that," he said. "So they knew. They should have had security in place."
Delariman said he noticed that Goh had problems, in particular, dealing with women in his predominantly female nursing classes.
"He can't stand women. He said he never used to work with women, or deal with women in a work setting or a school setting," Delariman said. "I don't know what he meant, but he couldn't get along with women students."
In a police affidavit released Wednesday, Officer Robert Trevino said Goh admitted going to Oikos on Monday morning with a .45-caliber handgun and four fully loaded magazines of ammunition.
"He admitted to kidnapping a woman and forcing her from her office into a classroom at gunpoint. He admitted to shooting and killing several people inside the classroom, before taking one of the victim's car keys and fleeing the scene in the victim's car," Trevino said in the statement.
About an hour after the shooting spree, police arrested Goh at a supermarket near from campus.
Since his arrest, emerging details of Goh's life suggest a troubled man who has been struggling to deal with personal and financial difficulties over the past decade.
Online records in two Virginia localities where he lived show that, while Goh was there, he racked up tens of thousands of dollars in liens and judgments, including a $10,377 debt to SunTrust Bank in 2006.
It's unclear how Goh earned a living before he became a nursing student at the tiny private school of about 100 students, but his instructors and a former employer said he had previously worked in construction.
Several hundred friends, family and community members gathered for a multicultural prayer vigil Tuesday night to mourn the victims of the nation's deadliest campus shooting since the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.
"Only God knows the meaning of the suffering we endure," Dr. Woo Nam Soo, the university's vice president, said in Korean during the church service. "In this unbearable tragedy and suffering, only God can create something good out of it."