A gunman killed nine people at an American college – ordering students to stand up and state their religion before shooting. The suspect, named in reports as 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer, died in an exchange of gunfire with police in Oregon.
Harper-Mercer was said to have been born in England before moving to the States as a young boy. He was killed after opening fire at the Umpqua Community College in Roseburg on Thursday morning.
“I’m just as shocked as everybody at what happened today. I’ve just been talking to the police and the FBI.” The massacre is the deadliest shooting in the US since nine people died in a rampage at a South Carolina church in June.
President Barack Obama called for stricter gun control laws in America to stop the violence. He said “inaction” on gun control legislation makes all Americans “answerable” for the ongoing gun violence.
“We are going to have to change our laws. This is not something I can do by myself,” he said. “I need to have congress and state legislatures and governors who are willing to work with me on this.”
Student Kortney Moore, 18, told the News-Review newspaper she was in her class in Snyder Hall when a shot came through a window. She said the gunman told people to get on the ground before ordering them to stand up and state their religion, then he opened fire.
At least 10 people were killed and seven others were wounded after a 26-year-old gunman, identified as Chris Harper Mercer, opened fire inside Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, U.S., on Oct. 1, 2015. He was shot dead following a gunfire with the police. Here is a look at the latest images from the college and related reaction. (Pictured) People take part in a candlelight vigil on Oct. 1.
Addressing the nation in the aftermath of the shooting, President Barack Obama paid his respect to those killed and urged for stronger gun control measures. He ended his speech saying, “I hope and pray that I don’t have to come out again during my tenure as president to offer my condolences to families in these circumstances. But based on my experience as president, I can’t guarantee that. And that’s terrible to say. And it can change.”
Journalists raises their hands as White House Press secretary Josh Earnest speaks to the media during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. Earnest was responding to a report of multiple shootings at Umpqua Community College in central Oregon.
The teenager said she saw her teacher shot in the head.
Umpqua student Brady Winder, who was in a nearby class, said they heard a sound like a heavy object dropping.
The 23-year-old said: “Everybody’s head turned and looked at each other, trying to just grasp what was happening, and someone said, ‘Those are gunshots.’
“We heard people screaming next door. And then everybody took off. People were hopping over desks, knocking things over.”
He said he saw a girl swim across a creek while escaping.
Students were patted done by law enforcement officers as they escaped the scene of the shooting to ensure there was no second gunman.
Harper-Mercer’s social media profiles featured content supporting the IRA.
According to his profile on a dating site, he is ‘mixed race,’ a ‘conservative Republican,’ ‘not religious’ and lives with his mother.
He wrote in a post this August about how much he admired Vester Flanagan, the gunman who killed a cameraman and presenter live on television.
Flanagan shot the pair dead after getting fired from the TV station where his victims were employed.
Harper-Mercer wrote: “On an interesting note, I have noticed that so many people like him are all alone and unknown, yet when they spill a little blood, the whole world knows who they are.
“A man who was known by no one, is now known by everyone.” Joe Olson, the former president of the college, said it has only one unarmed security officer on duty at any time.
The adult-learning college has some 3,300 students and the average age of students is about 38, according to its website. Agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are among those who responded to the scene.
According to pro-firearms control group Everytown for Gun Safety, it is the 142nd school shooting since the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary, Connecticut, in December 2012.