The shooter in the Oct. 1 massacre at an Oregon community college wanted to kill Christians, according to witnesses who lived through the ordeal.
Details began to emerge as survivors told their stories to the press and began to post information on social media. One Twitter user, going by the handle Bohdi, tweeted about her grandmother’s experience while in a writing class in the Snyder building at Umpqua Community College in Roseberg, Ore. The first shot rang out at 10:38 a.m.
“The shooter was lining people up and asking if they were Christian,” Bohdi posted. “If they said yes, then they were shot in the head. If they said no, they were shot in the legs.”
Advertisement – story continues below
Student Kortney Moore, 18, of Rogue River, Ore., said she heard a gunshot through a window and then saw her teacher shot in the head. The shooter, already in the room, forced everyone on the floor and then began to approach each person individually. According to Moore, the trigger man was asking her classmates to stand up and tell him their religion. He then began shooting at a rapid pace, she said.
Police identified the shooter as 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer, who lived in the Roseburg area. He was armed with two handguns and a long gun, according to reports. He died in the incident, although law enforcement haven’t given specifics on how Mercer was killed. One official told an Oregon reporter the suspect was “neutralized.”
“He appears to be an angry young man who was very filled with hate,” the law enforcement official told the New York Times.
Advertisement – story continues below
The FBI is involved in the investigation, attempting to figure out the motive for this deadly attack. While earlier information stated that more 13 died and 20 were injured in the shooting rampage, the latest confirmed reports to the Washington Post lists lower numbers with 10 dead, including the gunman, and several injured.
Investigators are also looking at statements posted Sept. 30 on the message board 4chan for clues to the shootings. The anonymous poster wrote a warning of a shooting in the Northwest, but it is unconfirmed by law enforcement that the writer of the post and the Mercer are the same person.
“Some of you guys are alright. Don’t go to school tomorrow if you are in the northwest,” the writer reportedly said in the post. “Happening thread will be posted tomorrow morning. so long space robots.”
Stories from those in the Snyder building at the time of the shooting tell chilling accounts of fear and panic.
Brady Winder, 23, of Portland, was in a class next door when he heard a series of gunshots that provoked a panicked rush through the front door. Hannah Miles, was in another classroom next door to where the shooting occurred. They heard noises and a teacher went to check on the neighboring class. Someone told them to get out and students began fleeing. A student was shot twice when she went to check on noises coming from the nearby classroom. She came back to her class telling everyone to leave immediately. The campus went on lockdown.
Students were evacuated from the building, one building at a time, with their hands up. They were patted down and put on a bus that transported them to the Douglas County Fairgrounds where 200 people, including family and Red Cross grief counselors, were waiting.
The area’s congressman, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield) said the situation was heartbreaking and he is grateful to all first responders working the incident.
Advertisement - story continues below
“Once we know more about what happened today, I plan to work with my colleagues in Congress to find ways to prevent tragedies such as these,” DeFazio said.
Facebook has greatly reduced the distribution of our stories in our readers' newsfeeds and is instead promoting mainstream media sources. When you share to your friends, however, you greatly help distribute our content. Please take a moment and consider sharing this article with your friends and family. Thank you.