Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Friday, October 21, 2016

By Courtney Sherwood and Eric M. Johnson

ROSEBURG, Ore. (Reuters) – A gunman stalked onto a college campus in southwestern Oregon on Thursday and opened fire, killing nine people and wounding seven before police shot him to death, authorities said, in yet another burst of U.S. gun violence that ranked as the deadliest this year.

The suspect, who witnesses say fired dozens of shots into a classroom full of screaming students, was slain in an exchange of gunfire with two police officers in Snyder Hall at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg following the morning rampage.

He was not publicly identified by local authorities – the county sheriff vowed never to utter his name. But CBS, CNN, NBC and the New York Times named him as 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer, citing anonymous law enforcement sources.

“He appears to be an angry young man who was very filled with hate,” the Times quoted one law enforcement official as saying.

CNN reported that three handguns and a “long gun” belonging to him were recovered from the scene. According to published eyewitness accounts, the gunman at one point ordered cowering students to stand up and state their religion before spraying the classroom with bullets.

“The law enforcement investigation into the shooter and his motivations is continuing,” Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin told reporters at an afternoon news conference.

He also said three of the wounded victims were hospitalized in critical condition.

The massacre in Roseburg, a former timber town on the western edge of the Cascades some 260 miles (418 km) south of Portland, was the latest in a flurry of deadly mass shootings at American college and public school campuses, movie theaters, military bases and churches in recent years.

The 10 people killed surpassed the death tolls from two previous mass shootings – a gun battle between rival motorcycle gangs in Waco, Texas, in May, and the rampage of a gunman at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, each of which claimed nine lives – to mark the deadliest incident of gun violence in the United States this year.

Not counting Thursday’s carnage, a total of 293 mass shootings have been reported since January 2015, according to the Mass Shooting Tracker website, a crowd-sourced database kept by anti-gun activists that defines a mass shooting as any event in which four or more people are shot.

The killings have fueled demands for more gun control in the United States, where ownership of firearms is protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and better care for the mentally ill.

President Barack Obama, speaking just hours after the rampage, said the mass killing should move Americans to demand greater gun controls from elected officials.

“Somehow this has become routine,” a visibly angry Obama said. “The reporting is routine. My response here, at this podium, ends up being routine. …We’ve become numb to this.”


Kortney Moore, 18, told the local News Review newspaper that she was in her writing class in Snyder Hall when a gunshot came through the window and struck her teacher in the head.

Inside the classroom, Moore said, the gunman told people to get on the ground, then asked them to stand up and state their religion before he started shooting.

Freshman Kenny Ungerman told NBC that said he saw the shooter, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, carrying a handgun as he went into the building, followed by gunshots and screams. Student Cassandra Welding told CNN that she heard 35 to 40 shots.

Student Brady Winder, in a posting on Facebook, said he was in a classroom next door to the room where the shooting began and ran, along with his classmates, when they heard the gunfire.

“I ran to the edge of the campus, down a hill and waited. From talking with a student in the classroom where it happen, almost every person in the room was shot by a man with four guns,” Winder, 23, wrote.

PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center emergency room doctor Hans Notenboom told reporters three women about 18 to 34 years of age were flown to the hospital in Riverbend by helicopter, and two were moved directly into operating room.

Survivors were transported to a local fairgrounds, and some family members were left waiting for hours to see if their loved ones would be among them.

“We have grief counselors waiting for those parents who have no children getting off that bus,” said the college’s president, Rita Calvin.

Following the bloodshed state and federal authorities swarmed Roseburg, including agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Police descended on an apartment possibly linked to the suspect about 2 miles (3 km) from campus, where police tape prevented access. It was not immediately clear who lived in the residence.

The college, which began its fall term this week and serves more than 13,000 students – 3,000 of them full time – said it would be closed until Monday. Hundreds of people attended a candlelight vigil at nightfall.

In 2012, seven students at the small Christian college Oikos University in Oakland, California, were shot dead by a former student, marking the deadliest outburst of violence at a U.S. college since April 2007, when a student at Virginia Tech University killed 32 people and wounded 25 others before taking his own life.

(Reporting by Courtney Sherwood, Eric M. Johnson and Jane Ross in Roseburg; Additional reporting by Shelby Sebens in Portland, Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago, Katie Reilly in New York and Daina Beth Solomon, Alex Dobuzinskis, Piya Sinha-Roy, Steve Gorman and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Writing by Dan Whitcomb and Steve Gorman; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Police officers inspect bags as students and staff are evacuated from campus following a shooting incident at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. REUTERS/Michael Sullivan/The News-Review

This post has been updated.

  • Stuart

    What are you whining about? You know in your hearts that the Founding Fathers would agree that school shootings are the price we pay for freedom. Nobody said freedom was free.

    • Daniel Jones

      Very sarcastic.

    • dtgraham

      That’s an up vote for quality sarcasm.

    • FT66

      How will a person be enjoying freedom after he has been shot? And are you ready to sacrifice your own life so that others must be free? And what that sacrifice is it for? So that others can obtain guns freely? Please clarify?

  • joe schmo

    And the shooter asked each student he shot. Are you a Christian or not? The Christians got shot in the head. The others were shot in the leg. Another liberal shooter. Not the conservatives fault that you lunatics are causing these mass shootings. If you check out all of the mass shootings they were NOT committed by conservatives. Maybe we should take the guns away from ALL liberals. You don’t want them anyway and let us keep ours. Really does prove who the sane and insane in this country are.

    The Jr. College I taught at had a police department, and I live in CaliMexico. Geez… Under these treacherous. circumstances and the threat of terrorism, we’ll keep our guns, thank you very much.

    • dtgraham

      I’ll give you credit for this joe: you really do, “prove who the sane and insane in this country are.”

      • joe schmo

        Definitely not the liberals:)

    • BillP

      Joe usually you are just an uniformed troll who posts your unsupported ludicrous opinions. Today you proved yourself to be a callous and totally delusional a-hole. There is no proof of the shooters political beliefs, yet you in your classless style claim the shooter to be a liberal. Of course you offer no proof asinine allegation, it was you or anther loser troll who claimed that previous mass shooters were Democrats, another bs allegation by a right wing troll. The only surprise in your comment is that you didn’t reference any of your imaginary friends. You know little boys like yourself aren’t allowed to play with real guns.

      • joe schmo

        Oh, let me guess Billy-boy, your media has kept you uninformed about the situation. This article is NO different. Very bland. No specifics. You need to visit conservative sites to know the truth. Just like many liberals, the gunman hated Christians. I rest my case.

        • BillP

          Joe Schmuck I know in your little right wing bubble world anything that is written on your conservative websites is taken as gospel. You claim that the shooter was “Another liberal shooter” but offer no proof as usual. Your additional claim that Liberals hate Christians is laughable, there are many Liberals who are Christian, Catholic, Jewish and other religions. White Mainline Protestants were 39% Democrat, White Catholics were 42% Democrat while White Evangelical Protestants were 24% Democrat. So unless a fairly high number of Liberals hate themselves, then as usual you are talking out of your butt. You may want to stop resting your case as you only offer our biased opinion not facts. We know that only a fool represents himself which makes sense with you since you are the biggest fool on this site!

          • joe schmo

            Well, I can say the same for you bubble head. To tell you the truth it has been proven through several pew polls that Conservatives are often more informed than liberals.

            ‘On eight of 13 questions about politics, Republicans outscored
            Democrats by an average of 18 percentage points, according to a new Pew survey titled “Partisan Differences in Knowledge.”

            The Pew survey adds to a wave of surveys and studies showing that GOP-sympathizers are better informed, more intellectually consistent, more open-minded, more empathetic and more receptive to criticism than their fellow Americans who support the Democratic Party.’

            The reason many Christians are conservatives = values. Believe me there are more Conservative Christians than liberal, and who does most of the charitable giving = the middle class conservative Christian. You can look these up. I did. Most of the Christians I know unless they are gay (usually believe in Buddha) are conservatives.

            Nope, the biggest fool on this site is Elenore Whitaker, and you are right up there with her.

          • BillP

            I do have investments in a number of strategies including funds in S&P 500 securities and NASDAQ securities. You should follow Mark Twain’s advice “Better to keep your mouth shut and thought ignorant than to open it and remove all doubt!” Your daddy is off the mark by a lot and appears to not know what he is talking about.
            Since 1/21/2009 2015
            S&P500 up 134.24% down 5.2%
            NASDAQ up 212.38% down 0.60%
            Gold up 38.9% down 3.94%
            Silver up 46.65% down 1.34%
            If you had invested $100,000 in these different markets today the market value would be:
            S&P 500 – $232,240
            NASDAQ – $312,380
            Gold – $138,920
            Silver – $146,650
            So for a moron I doing better with my investments than your “genius” daddy with his gold and silver. Check the last 2 market days and today, all markets are up, little boy. If you don’t understand this you are stupider than you write.
            As for Conservative Christians they do have values but many of their beliefs are contrary to scientific beliefs. You know something you can prove with experiments. You can write about Pew polls all you want, your comments are illogical, not based on provable facts and are just your juvenile opinion.
            Next time you need financial advice ask me not dear daddy, he’s slipping.

  • bcarreiro

    To lose the one you love is the most unbearable feeling one could ever endure. How does a handful of people in our Congress be close minded to what is happening? Political leverage is the only focal point.

    • joe schmo

      They are not any good on either side. Donald Trump is the only candidate I would be voting for if I were you!

  • joe schmo

    Go figure, Oregon already has background check laws, including required background
    checks for private sales…so there is NO “loophole” in Oregon. This is
    the same background check law that libs want nationwide but it didn’t
    work in Oregon today! NEVER listen to liebrals! EVER!

    • dtgraham

      Keep in mind that the Brady law alone requiring checks, that went into effect two decades earlier has been estimated to have stopped the sale of more than two million guns to convicted felons, fugitives, and others. Oregon’s expanded background checks that close some loopholes will stop even more of these sales, and will surely prevent a certain amount of gun violence in the future. It just didn’t yesterday. The shooter had no past record of any kind.

      • joe schmo

        Dude, Chicago has the strictest gun laws, yet has the most crime. Also, many of our laws have gotten way to assuasive. The video game culture, isolation and the lack of discipline is a grave problem for our young males today. I think we should bring back the draft, therefore; every young man would have to be in the military at age 18. I believe they need to be there for at least 4 years. It will teach them about respect and discipline. If there are individuals displaying any form of odd behavior then I also believe federal institutions should be available. When I was a kid, I grew up in the country, many young men drove around with a rifle in a rack in the back window of their trucks. Did anyone ever think about hurting a soul. No Way! Why do you think that was? Nope! No new gun laws…. No weapon confiscation. You will never get it! If it is such an issue for you then maybe move back to Europe.

        • dtgraham

          Thank you Mr. defender of freedom and the bill of rights. So, every male has to be enlisted into the military at age 18 for AT LEAST 4 years whether they want to be or not. Furthermore, the federal government should get involved into any individual’s life who is displaying “odd behaviour”. Presumably, the federal government will decide the definition of what “odd behaviour” is. Thank you Mr. Freedom.

    • Eleanore Whitaker

      Wouldn’t it be easier if you just danced a jig that one of your Rambo gun nuts get his rocks off with massive ego and power addiction?

      I imagine you are thrilled that these college students were shot. After all, a gun boy like you must get his “rush” from death, right? And what better rush can there be than to know one of your death mentality nuts gave his life for your cause?

      • joe schmo

        Absolutely Not! I am pissed because you loonies want to abolish our Constitutional rights and I am upset that you don’t look at the REAL reason behind all this. Eleanora, you are really an extreme nutcase. Time for some serious help. You do realize that it is mostly nonConservatives creating these mass shootings? Conservatives just have too much sense. This Mercer kid…..he stated he was nonreligious but spiriritual. Come on! Anyone can see that is an oxymoron…. What was he then? A devil worshiper. Something a free wielding liberal would promote. Geez!

    • FT66

      Joe schmo,
      Are you also sick? suppose the background check law you claim is for libs, doesn’t work on you as you think it hasn’t worked to those who have lost their lives, will you come then blog here that insane comment afterwards as you are making now?

      • joe schmo

        Typical liberal response….LOL, the comment I posted comes from a fellow conservative on another site:) Yes, and we need to reinstate government run institutions. When I was a kid, country kids ran around with rifles in their trucks. Did anyone anywhere think about doing anything to anyone. Hell no! It’s this free thinking, lenient liberal ‘douchworld’ we have become. Time for laws and strict rules to come back. We get another libtard in office and we are good as cooked (if your side wins, it wasn’t by honest means). You’ll see. The violence will continue.

        For example, Europe has no guns. Europe has a large influx of migrants. The citizens are so pissed and because they have no guns they are burning down the buildings of immigrants. It’s not helping. You don’t hear that on American T.V. This comes from family over there. It is a warning to us as to what can happen. I’m with Putin! Send the Illegals home. Keep the vagrants out!

    • johninPCFL

      The law you hang your hateful hat on has been in force for all of two months. Since you’re such a wise guy, how long before the law went into effect did the shooter buy his guns? Or did he just scoot across the state line and buy one out of the newspaper?

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    Joe Schmo is likely the next right wing radical anarchist we’ll read about in the media. After all, these are the men who sit on computers all day long with nothing of value to offer the world, aren’t they?

    Joe Schmo cut his teeth on hate fed to him, like all Daddie’s boys, his Big Daddy. Big Daddy probably taught lil Joey how to load a rifle by age 3. But let’s all pretend that every American should be surgically attached to an AK47 so Lil Joey can get his jollies proving just how important and how powerful he is. Another Napoleanic complex on steroids?

    • joe schmo

      OMG, are you nuts! This coming from a white communist gay feminist! You know I always wondered why there aren’t many liberals on their own sites and why the TV media on the Left (which means most of it) isn’t doing so well? You people are SO uninformed. You are the atheist, freedom hating, unAmerican traitors. Gee thanks Obama for this divide. Keep it up Eleanora. You can’t handle any contradictions. Besides, remember I told you a while back. I’m a conservative woman:) I have a vagina. Maybe it’s time for that transgender transformation. Time for you to get a penis. I honestly think you hate my guts because unlike you, I have a better life and I am more educated. Go stuff yourself. Why not move to the ME. They will certainly tame your self-righteousness…… You all see so enamored by the Musllim’s. You know the people that make women wear burkas and they kill gays………

      By the way, seems to me you don’t have much of a life. You are always on this site and I wouldn’t be surprised if you were on Mother Jones, MSLSD, Politico, etc……

      • Eleanore Whitaker

        Since I am not the only poster who recognizes your “limited” grasp of reality, I’d say you are the white, middle aged, balding, fat gut, fat mouth anarchist who would love nothing better than to be the BOSS. don’t you jokers EVER get it?

        You don’t pay OUR way. You live in a state that lives off EVERYONE ELSE’s tax dollars. That makes YOU are welfare recipient.

        As for your penis, a eunoch never needs one and I’m sure your connections to ISIS are well established.

        Your right wing is down for the count. You ALL sound like the nuts your Daddies bred.

        Little weenies like you don’t belong in society. You belong in an institution for the mentally incapable. Take the hint bug boy.

        • joe schmo

          Honestly, LOL Louis thinks the same way of you and I do recall when a fellow liberal told you to tone it down because you were tarnishing the Democratic image. So I’m not sure what you are even stating.

          By the way, I am a slim(always have been), blond, athletic, attractive, look very young for my age, talented, educated, smart, traditional, married, Christian woman.

          I live in CaliMexico, the state that sponges off it’s citizens to pay for the Illegals. Our tax dollars go to the vagrants.

          ISIS is the democrats department. We conservatives DON’T want them here.

          I think you are getting worse with your remarks and I see no defense for your ‘verbage’ from your fellow comrades. You try to bully off every conservative individual that crosses this site. You people are the anarchists. We conservatives are Christians, remember? You are the problem with what is wrong with this country. If we try to contradict your ideology your head explodes.

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            Schmomo…It seems to me you like to ignore others besides me who think you are a crazy lunatic. This is also true of that other uneducated, prison inmate troll you mentioned.

            See the connection like the rest of us do?

            You aren’t a conservative. You are a contradictory, BS artist who can’t wipe your own butt without McMommie’s help.

            I’m guessing a guy like you with this much free time, isn’t exactly a gainfully employed man. Mental handicaps like you never do admit they need help until like that Oregon shooter, you go off the deep end.

            But do keep up pretending you are oh so correct about Mr. Master of the Universe.

            You aren’t a Christian. You are just a former crook who “got religion” to hide a multitude of sins. I’ve seen your kind so often. You think suddenly lapping up religion makes up for all these years you were a crook. Think again.