Official: Oregon gunman left angry note glorifying mass killers

Douglas County, Oregon Sheriff John Hanlin says he won't name the man who shot and killed nine people on a community college campus on Thursday. The gunman, identified by an anonymous official as Chris Harper Mercer, was also killed. (Oct. 2)

ROSEBURG, Ore. — The 26-year-old gunman in the deadly shooting spree in southern Oregon is believed to have left behind a document that glorified mass killings and bitterly referred to his lonely existence with few human contacts outside the Internet, a law enforcement official said Friday.

The official, who is not authorized to comment publicly, also said one of the four weapons used by the gunman in the Umpqua Community College shootings to kill nine people was registered to someone else.

Federal law enforcement sources have identified the killer as Chris Mercer, who lived in the area. Local authorities say the male gunman — who they have refused to name publicly to avoid giving him further notoriety — was killed in a shootout with police shortly around 10:30 a.m. Pacific time on Thursday.

As details came to light, Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin named the victims who died:

 

  • Lucero Alcaraz, 19, of Roseburg, whose sister posted on Facebook that she won scholarships to cover her college costs;
  • Quinn Glen Cooper, 18, of Roseburg, whose family said he loved dancing and voice acting;
  • Kim Saltmarsh Dietz, 59, an outdoors lover who was taking classes at the same time as her daughter;
  • Lucas Eibel, 18, of Roseburg, who was studying chemistry and loved volunteering with animals;
  • Jason Johnson, 33, whose mother told NBC News that he successfully battled drug abuse and was in his first week of college;
  • Lawrence Levine, 67, of Glide, an assistant professor of English at the college;
  • Sarena Dawn Moore, 44, of Myrtle Creek;
  • Treven Taylor Anspach, 20, of Sutherlin; and
  • Rebecka Ann Carnes, 18, of Myrtle Creek.

 

Authorities confiscated 13 weapons associated with the shooter, six at the site of the killings and seven at his apartment, Celinez Nunez, assistant agent in charge at Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told reporters Friday. Nunez said all the weapons had been purchased legally by the shooter or members of is family.

The ATF agent also said a flak jacket outfitted with a steel plate and containing 5 magazines of ammunition was found next to a rifle belonging to the gunman at the scene of the shootings.

The rambling document left behind, and believed to be written by the gunman, lamented an isolated life with little promise, the official said.

 

The contents and tone of the document, the official said, tracked the often desperate and depressed writings from members of a loosely affiliated group known as the "beta boys." The official said members associated with the group share profound disappointment with their lots in life and the lack of meaningful relationships.

Nine others were killed in the shooting spree that has rocked this rural community. It was the fourth shooting involving students on a U.S. college campus since August.

Those who knew the shooter described a deeply troubled loner.

At an apartment complex where Harper-Mercer and his mother lived in Southern California, neighbors remembered a quiet and odd young man who rode a red bike everywhere.

Reina Webb, 19, said the man's mother was friendly and often chatted with neighbors, but Harper-Mercer kept to himself. She said she occasionally heard him having temper tantrums in his apartment.

"He was kind of like a child so that's why his tantrums would be like kind of weird. He's a grown man. He shouldn't be having a tantrum like a kid. That's why I thought there was something — something was up," she said.

Bronte Harte, another neighbor, described Harper-Mercer as "really unfriendly" and said he would "sit by himself in the dark in the balcony with this little light."

A woman believed to be Harper-Mercer's mother lived upstairs and was "crying her eyes out" on Thursday, Harte said.

Residents in this rural community had braced Friday for the release of the names of the dead. In addition to those killed, nine people were injured during the ordeal in a college classroom.

After the shooting Thursday, students were evacuated on school buses to the Douglas County fairgrounds, where some spoke with police, visited with grief counselors and ministers and then reunited with family.

The UCC campus was closed on Friday, but authorities allowed students and staff to meet at the fairgrounds to be driven back on campus on school buses to retrieve their belongings and cars. Many who were there expressed horror and shock over the tragedy.

Shelby Rokus, 18, struggled to comprehend the bullets that pierced through one of the victims that she says she has known since childhood. The female victim is being treated at an area hospital.

Rokus found out about her friend's injuries while she was at a vigil on Thursday night.

"That was really hard to hear," she said. Rokus is a student at UCC, but she wasn't on campus Thursday, she said.

She added she felt bad thinking of her friend in the intensive care unit by herself. She said she hoped to visit her and bring her flowers soon.

"It's really heart-aching to know that a lot of innocent people had to die," Rokus said. "No one deserved that."

Derek Sjogren, 18, said Friday at the fairgrounds he was at the pool at the physical education center of the UCC campus when he learned about the shooting unfolding at Snyder Hall.

He said he heard a lot of people yelling, then shooting, and his class went into lockdown.

Kallista Fletcher, 21, said she didn't know Rebecka Ann Carnes very well. But she knows she was a kind woman who loved God, she said Friday at the fairgrounds.

Fletcher said she found out about Carnes' death through Facebook on Thursday night.

"It's hard to lose someone who can make an impact on someone with just a smile," she said.

Fletcher, a sophomore at UCC, was at the fitness center when news of the shooting spread across the campus.

On her fluorescent pink shirt were hastily drawn hearts and the writing "#pray4UCC"in black ink. Although she was attempting to live out her routine Friday, she said, "my life is not normal right now."

On Thursday, the shooting prompted a visibly frustrated President Obama to renew his calls for more gun regulation.

Two of the 10 people initially admitted to Mercy Medical Center after the shooting will remain, one in critical condition and one in stable condition, Jason Gray, chief medical officer, told reporters Friday. They were among four who underwent operations from gunshot wounds. One of the four has been released and another was expected to leave the hospital Friday.

Gray also said that two of the original 10 were treated and released and one person died in the hospital. The remaining three were transferred to another PeaceHealth Sacred Heart medical Center in Springfield.

Officials said Friday that its three patients were stable, although two remained in the intensive care unit. One of the victims had suffered a head injury and one with a gunshot wound to the spine.

Responding to a report that the suspect asked the religion of a victim, Hanlin said he had also heard the claim, but it was "way too early to determine" whether the shooting was a hate crime.

Dustin Cosby, an associate professor at Umpqua Community College, said that with such a small town, "everyone's connected."

CONTRIBUTING: Saerom Yoo, (Salem, Ore.) Statesman Journal; Associated Press


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