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Community Prays Together For Oikos University Shooting Victims

Church and city leaders ask people to work together to end violence.

Hundreds gathered at an Oakland church Tuesday evening to honor the lives of seven people killed in and to take a stand against violence.

Many solemnly bowed their heads and clasped their hands in prayer during the nearly three-hour memorial service held at Allen Temple Baptist Church.

City leaders and pastors from various churches asked the community to offer their compassion to the victims who died after a gunman raided Oikos University on Monday.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said the community must work together to curb violence and to help people achieve their dreams.

“We are a city that prays in 130 languages, that sings in 130 languages. We’re a city that prides itself in our diversity and love. … [people] have no idea about the love and resilience of this city,” Quan said.

Quan added, “We must have the courage to tell America we’re better than this. This kind of violence can happen in any city."

Authorities earlier Tuesday released the names of victims killed. They were Doris Chibuko, 40, of San Leandro; Sonam Choedon, 33, of El Cerrito; , 23, of Union City; Judith O. Seymore, 53, of San Jose; , 21, of Hayward; and Bhutia Tshering, 38, of San Francisco. Kathleen Ping, 24, was identified by friends and other media as the seventh victim.

The Rev. J. Alfred Smith, Jr. told those who gathered at the church Tuesday to find strength in their religious faith seeing such violence just seven days before Easter.

“On this solemn occasion, we come sharing our tears and grief. We come, oh God, with questions we are incapable of answering,” Smith said during the service. “But we come in faith drawing from the only strength we know — the strength that comes from you, oh God.”

Oakland City Councilman Larry Reid called the death of six women and one man at the private Christian university an act of “senseless violence.”

“We have seven families who’ll be missing their loved ones,” Reid said. “…Before you leave here today, I ask you to tell the [person next to you] how much you love them… because the next hour, the next minute, the next second is not guaranteed.

“I hope all of you will pray for [the victims and their family],” Reid said.

Police have , 43, in connection to the fatal shooting. Goh had been expelled from Oikos University for behavioral issues and is said to have been looking for a particular female administrator at the school before the 10:30 a.m. shooting, authorities said.

Goh is being held at Santa Rita Jail on charges of murder and kidnapping. He is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in Oakland.

Michael Cargill April 05, 2012 at 05:30 AM
This is so heartbreaking.

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