Chris Harper Mercer: Umpqua Community College Gunman Targeted Christians
Chris Harper Mercer, the gunman who killed nine people and wounded seven others at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, had targeted Christians, the father of one of the victims says.
The gunman opened fire on October 1 inside a classroom at Umpqua Community College.
Officials said on October 2 that Chris Harper Mercer had body armor, three pistols, a rifle and five extra magazines of ammunition.
Chris Harper Mercer was shot and killed by police officers who arrived at the scene after a gun battle.
President Barack Obama has expressed frustration over the “routine” response to mass shootings, saying the US had become “numb” to such attacks.
Stacy Boylan, whose daughter survived the shooting, told CNN that his daughter described to him how the gunman asked his victims to state their religion before shooting them.
“<<Are you a Christian?>> he would ask them, <<and if you are a Christian stand up>>,” the father recalled.
Stacy Boylan said the gunman told the victims: “Because you’re a Christian you’re going to see God in just about one second.”
Another student who survived the shooting, Kortney Moore, gave a similar account to local newspaper The News-Review.
The attacker was identified by unnamed officers, as local police refused to release his name.
Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said he did not wish to give the gunman “the credit he probably sought prior to this horrific and cowardly act”.
However, the sheriff has come under fire for his stance opposing gun control measures in the past.
Hours after the attack, Barack Obama reiterated demands for tighter gun laws, saying prayers are “no longer enough”.
“We are not the only country on Earth that has people with mental illnesses or want to do harm to other people.
“But we are the only advanced country on Earth that sees these mass shootings every few months.”
The president said countries like the UK and Australia showed that effective legislation was possible.
Candidates vying to replace Barack Obama in office have begun to weigh in as well.
Shortly after the shooting, Republican front-runner Donald Trump called the Washington Post and described the “terrible tragedy” as sounding like “another mental health problem”.
Donald Trump added that it appeared mass shootings were more frequent.
Hillary Clinton said “we are seeing these mass murders happen again and again and again” and called on people in the US to “get the political will to do everything we can to keep people safe”.
Chris Harper Mercer was reportedly born in the UK and moved to the US as a young boy.
A man identified as the gunman’s father, Ian Mercer, told media he was “just as shocked as everybody” by his son’s actions.
The killer’s motive is not known, although police said they were investigating reports that he had warned of his intentions on social media.
In an online profile appearing to belong to Chris Harper Mercer, he listed hobbies including the internet and “killing zombies”, described his politics as “conservative, republican” and said he was spiritual but not religious.
Umpqua Community College, a 3,000-student school, is located in Roseburg, Oregon, a rural area about 175 miles south of Portland.
Hundreds of people gathered for a vigil in a Roseburg park on October 1.
In audio from police radio channels an officer can be heard saying the suspect was down and that there were “multiple gunshot wounds”, and calling for multiple ambulances to go the scene.
The suspect supposedly used a “long gun”.
According to Umpqua Community College’s website, the average age of students is about 38.