A memorial fund has been set up by the Tibetan Association of Northern California for an El Cerrito woman and a San Francisco man who were among the seven people killed by a gunman on April 2 at Oikos University in Oakland.
Sonam Chodon of El Cerrito and Tshering Rinzing Bhutia of San Francisco were both nursing students who were fatally shot in the massacre at the small Christian college, and both were members of the local Tibetan Buddhism community, according to Thepo Tulku, a representative of the Richmond-based Tibetan Association of Northern California.
The funds will be used for funeral expenses for the two and for transporting Bhutia's remains back to India, Tulku said.
The 33-year-old Chodon (whose name is also spelled Choedon) had lived in El Cerrito nearly two years after leaving her native Dharamsala in India, home of the Tibetan exile community that fled the Chinese Communist takeover of Tibet. She had worked five years in children's education for the Department of Education of the Department of Education of the Central Tibetan Administration, the Tibetan government in exile.
Bhutia, 38, had immigrated from the Indian state of Sikkim, in the Himalayan mountains next to Tibet, and was working at local restaurants and cleaning terminals at night at San Francisco International Airport, while taking nursing classes at Oikos, according to the Oakland Tribune.
Bhutia's car was the get-away vehicle of the accused killer, former Oikos student One Goh, 43, who was arrested about an hour after the killings at a Safeway in Alameda, the Tribune said. The San Francisco Chronicle Saturday quoted unidentified sources saying Goh told police he was seeking an administrator when he went to the school Monday morning.
News reports said Goh, who had left the school, was upset about being unable to receive a tuition refund. The Chronicle said he told police that he felt picked on because of his English-speaking ability.
Tax-deductible donations to the memorial fund for Chodon and Bhutia can be made out to the Tibetan Association of Northern California, with "memorial" in the memo line, and sent to the association's office at 5200 Huntington Avenue, Richmond, CA 94804. Donations can be made also via PayPal at the association's Web site at www.tanc.org. Those wishing more information can contact Tenzin Bhuti, association treasurer, at 510-735-6168.