Shedding tears for the fallen
Oikos memorial gallery: Remembering the victims.
Still numb with sorrow and shock, friends, family and community leaders gathered Tuesday night to remember the seven victims of the Oikos University shooting in Oakland.
People of all backgrounds attended the memorial service held at Allen Temple Baptist Church, about two miles from where One L. Goh is accused of gunning down his seven victims Monday morning.
Scriptures were read in Korean and English before the Vice President of Oikos University, Woo Nam Soo, read opening remarks. The Vice President expressed his gratitude for all in attendance and the pouring out of condolences and prayers for the community.
He said that he had met with the parents of one of the victims this morning to share their sorrow and his own sense of disbelief and anger.
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan received a standing ovation as she prepared to speak. After expressing condolences, Mayor Quan talked about how easy it is for anyone to get a gun:
“America has to look at ourselves, we have to ask that family member why they are angry, families are hurting each other, we have to find other ways to deal with our families.”
Mayor Quan summed it up to SFBay after the service:
“It’s easier to get a gun than get access to mental health services.”
Union City student Jaspaul Dhillon, 24, was there to remember his friend and victim Grace Kim. Dhillon told SFBay he read about the shooting on Monday morning, but didn’t hear until Monday evening that his friend Grace was one of the victims:
“I’m numb and I’m in shock. I keep waiting for her to call and to hear that laugh of hers.”
The two met five years ago while waiting tables together at a T.G.I. Friday’s and they remained friends. His eyes welling with tears, Dhillon shared:
“Grace was a beautiful person inside and out and I just cannot believe it.”
One of many haunting stories to come from Tuesday’s memorial is that of Bev Concepcion, a nursing instructor at Oikos.
Over the weekend, Concepcion was looking forward to seeing Kathleen Ping, 24, her friend and colleague. Ping, responsible for scheduling various nursing programs, was identified Tuesday as a victim of Monday’s rampage.
Fighting back tears, Concepcion recounted the voicemail message that was left by Ping Friday night in their native Tagalog language:
“Ate (pronounced as “Ah-teh,” or big sister, in Tagalog), don’t go to the 7 to 11 a.m. class. Just teach from 5 to 9 p.m. I moved your schedule.”
Monday’s 7 to 11 a.m. class is the one Goh is accused of victimizing.
When asked if she can go back to work:
“I don’t want to go back to work. It is so sad, very tragic, very, very painful.”