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Developing Story

Last updated on October 4, 2015, at 10:28 a.m. ET

Posted on October 2, 2015, at 9:24 a.m. ET

Oregon College Shooter's Father Calls For Stricter Gun Laws

Ten people were killed and at least nine others wounded Thursday after a gunman opened fire at Umpqua Community College.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

The photos of three of victims of the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College are displayed at a news conference Friday.

What We Know So Far

  • Ten people were killed Thursday after a gunman opened fire at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The shooter is among the dead, and his death has been ruled a suicide.
  • Authorities on Friday confirmed that nine other people had been injured in the attack.
  • The victims killed in the attack were officially identified Friday.
  • Law enforcement officials identified the shooter as 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer. Here is what we know about him.
  • The shooter carried six weapons at the school – one rifle and five handguns. Seven guns were found at his apartment – two pistols, one rifle, one shotgun. At the school he wore a steel-plated flak jacket with 5 additional magazines of ammunition.
  • The incident drew sharp words from President Obama regarding the gun lobby.
BuzzFeed News


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The father of the 26-year-old man who killed nine people before killing himself at Oregon's Umpqua Community College on Thursday is calling for stricter gun control laws in response to the shooting.

CNN / Via

In an interview with CNN, Ian Mercer said he was shocked to discover his son, Chris Harper-Mercer, owned so many guns.

Ian Mercer said that he would never excuse what his son did, but he is incredulous he was able to stockpile such a large supply of weapons. "If Chris could not have gotten ahold of 13 guns none of this would have happened," he said.

Mercer said these tragedies prove that the U.S. needs to change its gun laws. "Every time something like this happens they talk about it and nothing is done," he said.

"Guns are's black and white. What do you want a gun for?" he asked.

He said he hadn't seen his son since he had moved away to Oregon two years ago, but added that he is extremely sorry for what his child has done.

"My heart goes out to all the other families that are affected by this," he said.

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The sheriff released a timeline of the events from the shooting.

Claudia Koerner / BuzzFeed News
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Medical examiners have determined that Chris Harper-Mercer, the man authorities say fatally shot nine people at an Oregon community college on Thursday, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

KOIN / Via

"The medical examiner has determined the cause of death of the shooter to be suicide," Sheriff John Hanlin said at a press conference Saturday.

Hanlin said authorities had discovered another weapon in Harper-Mercer's home, bringing the total number of weapons seized to 14.

The sheriff also confirmed that the suspect was a student at Umpqua Community College and was registered in the writing class he attacked.

Douglas County Fire Chief Greg Marlar announced that one of the victims, 20-year-old Treven Taylor Anspach, was the son of one of a local firefighter. Another victim, Rebecca Carnes, was the niece of a paramedic.

"I haven't stopped thinking about the many other families who've experienced loss," Marlar said.

"While we deal with this tragedy on two fronts, our stations are open, and our crews are here to serve our community," he added.

Umpqua Community College Board of Trustees chair member Vanessa Becker announced that classes would resume Oct. 12.

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Oregon's two biggest college football teams announced plans to honor the Roseburg shooting victims with helmet graphics.

Ten people were killed Thursday after a gunman opened fire at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The shooter was also among the dead.

The attack left the small rural community reeling, with some of the deceased victims having connections to first-responders and even those in elected state office.

The University of Oregon Ducks and the Oregon State Beavers will add black "UCC" ribbon graphics to their helmets, the teams announced Friday.

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Andrew Harnik / AP

The American flag is lowered to half-staff above the White House.

President Obama on Friday ordered all U.S. flags flown at half-staff at the White House and other federal grounds in honor of the shooting victims in Roseburg, Oregon.

The proclamation reads, in part:

I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, October 6, 2015. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

Ten people were killed Thursday after a gunman opened fire at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The shooter is also among the dead.

The mass shooting has drawn sharp words from Obama regarding the gun lobby and Congress' inaction on reforms for the past two days.

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Rich Pedroncelli / AP

The sheriff overseeing the investigation into the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon has since declined to comment on gun control, but he's made his stance on the issue very clear in the past.

Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin, who has been praised for refusing to name the gunman as a way to not glorify him, has previously made strong statements against stricter gun control laws, such as in a letter to Vice-President Joe Biden that included this line:

"Gun control is NOT the answer to preventing heinous crimes like school shootings."

Read more on Hanlin's past statements on gun control here.

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Thursday’s shooting was approximately the 60th on a school property in the U.S. in the past 12 months, Every Town, an advocacy group, calculated based on media reports.

The Umpqua Community College incident has had the most casualties since the shooting of 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December, 2012. Since Sandy Hook there has been over 140 school shootings, Every Town reported.

In 2015, the U.S. has so far seen 294 mass shootings – more than one mass shooting for every day of the year – according to the database Mass Shooting Tracker. The FBI defines a "mass shooting" as an instance in which more than four people are shot. The longest the U.S. has gone without a mass shooting in 2015 is 8 days.

Including the victims of Thursday's shooting, approximately 380 people were killed in mass shootings in 2015 and more than 1,000 were injured. In the past 12 months, the death toll comes to around 564.

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House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi wrote to Speaker John Boehner on Friday, calling fora new Select Committee on Gun Violence to recommend legislation to help stop mass shootings. The full text of the letter is below:

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Rich Pedroncelli / AP

A sign honors those killed in the fatal shooting at Umpqua Community College.

Authorities on Friday officially identified the nine people who were killed by a gunman at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.

The victims are:

Rebecka Ann Carnes of Myrtle Creek, 18. Treven Taylor Anspach of Sutherlin, 20. Sarena Dawn Moore of Myrtle Creek, 44. Lawrence Levine of Glide, 67. He was listed as the teacher in the classroom. Jason Dale Johnson of Winston, 33. Lucas Eibel of Roseburg, 18. Kim Saltmarsh Dietz of Roseburg, 59. Quinn Glen Cooper of Roseburg, 18. Lucero Alcaraz of Roseburg, 19.

Read more on the victims and their backgrounds here.

The shooter, unofficially identified 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer, was also killed in the attack after responding officers engaged him in gunfire. It was unclear if the shooter was killed by police gunfire or took his own life.

No officers were hurt.

Authorities also revised the number of those wounded in the Thursday attack, from seven to nine.

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Sean Rayford / Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush landed in hot water Friday by cautioning against legislative knee-jerk reactions to mass shootings and other crises, saying "stuff happens."

"It's just, it's very sad to see, but I resist the notion — I had this challenge as governor because we had — look, stuff happens," Bush said at an event in South Carolina. "There's always a crisis and the impulse is always to do something, and it's not necessarily the right thing to do."

At a White House briefing, President Obama responded to Bush's comments, telling a reporter the American public can decide for themselves whether they think the endless cycle of mass shootings is "stuff happening."

Read the full story here.

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White House / Via

President Obama addresses reporters on Friday.

President Obama told reporters at the White House on Friday that he would use the final months of his presidency to make stricter gun controls a key part of his discourse.

Reiterating much of what he said a day earlier regarding the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, Obama said he would use his bully pulpit to "change the politics" on discussing the need for gun control reform.

"I am going to talk about this on a regular basis, and I will politicize it, because our inaction is a political decision that we are making," he said.

Obama also once again took Congress to task for inaction on the issue — even in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School — and warned the public that the only way to affect change would be at the ballot box, where a dominant gun lobby has ruled the roost for years.

Pointing to the National Rifle Assn., Obama said the pro-gun lobby has been "very effective, because they don't represent the majority of the American people." And yet, he added, the NRA's political lobbying power has been able to quash gun control discussions in Congress time and again.

So going forward, Obama called on voters to make sure their own political candidates "are on the right side of the issue" when casting their ballot to change the balance of power on Capitol Hill and help the White House push reforms forward.

"You just have to, for awhile, be a single-issue voter because that's what's happening on the other side," he said.

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Oregon college shooter Chris Harper-Mercer appears to have left extensive documentation of his political views and potential motivations in the form of writings and notes, multiple outlets reported.

However, parts of his online presence appear to paint a contradictory picture — a white supremacist with a mother who is reportedly black; a fan of the Irish Republican Army with an English father.

Mercer reportedly gave "a bunch of papers and a thumb drive" to someone on campus before opening fire, a source told ABC News. The thumb drive and papers contained expressions of "sexual frustration" and "racial animus toward black men," the network reported. Citing law-enforcement sources, the Los Angeles Times reported Mercer had left behind a "hate-filled" document that showed he had "anti-religion, anti-government, and white supremacist leanings." In September, he posted a message blaming the Black Lives Matter movement for the homicide of a police officer in Texas, the New York Times reported.

In a dating profile at Spiritual Passions, however, Harper-Mercer identified as "mixed race." A relative told the Daily Beast that his mother, Laurel Harper, is black. Hi father, Ian Mercer, is British and white, the New York Times reported.

The contradiction in the shooter's identity is apparent even in the username he chose for his profile on Spiritual Passions: Ironcross45, in reference to the medal given to Nazi soldiers. His MySpace profile included several images glorifying the IRA's terrorist tactics.

Mercer also appears to have left a record of his enthusiasm for violence and for conspiracy theories across various websites. On the torrent site where he posted his opinions about Black Lives Matter, he also uploaded comments expressing sympathy for Vester Flanagan, the black television anchor who shot and killed two of his former colleagues on air. He also uploaded videos about the Third Reich and complained about his "involuntary" virginity.

On Friday, Vocativ reported that a Facebook comment apparently from Mercer's mother boasted about her collection of weapons and her support for open-carry laws.

The relevant post, by a user named Laurel Harper in September 201, read, according to Vocativ:

"You can't be that naive, can you? It's ridiculously easy to understand the apprehension associated with open carry. I moved from So. Calif. to Oregon, from Southern Crime-a-mania to open carry. An open carry law won't work everywhere," Harper wrote. But, she continued, "And when the mood strikes, and as long as we're tossing around brand names, I sling an AR, Tek-9 or AK over my shoulder, or holster a Glock 21 (not 22), or one of my other handguns, like the Sig Sauer P226, and walk out the door. I find the shotguns are a little too cumbersome to open carry. "

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Quickly catch up on the story of college shooting hero Chris Mintz:

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KOIN / Via

In an address to the media Friday afternoon, Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley announced that his distant cousin was among the shooting victims.

"I never thought my family, my extended family would be affected," he said. "One of the individuals who died is the great-granddaughter of my first cousin, so she is my cousin."

He did not specify her name.

The street in front of the police and fire station was blocked off to make room for the dozens of cameras that showed up.

Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon urged for significant changes in society and policy in order to prevent future massacres.

"As a country, we cannot just shrug our shoulders and move on," he said. "In my view, ending these massacres is gonna require compromise that is about rights and responsibilities."

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said that tragedies like these "continue to happen here and across the nation, and it is going to keep happening until we decide we want them to stop."

She added that while there was no single solution to prevent these shootings, "this is a conversation we must have, but today is not the day."

Residents joined lawmakers in a round of applause for the first responders, who arrived on the scene within 10 minutes after the shooting yesterday.

Gov. Kate Brown shaking hands and hugging first responders @KEZI9

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Three female victims of Thursday's shooting are expected to survive their injuries, although one may have neurological deficits, said trauma physicians with PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center on Friday.

Two victims are in critical condition and one victim is in serious condition. One woman suffered a gunshot wound to the back. Surgeons removed the bullet during an operation last night. She was alert at the time she arrived at the hospital Thursday. The physicians refrained from asking her directly about the shooting, but Dr. Scott Russi told reporters on Friday that she has been "affected greatly by this event in her life."

The two other victims are in critical condition. Both suffered suffered gunshot wounds to the head. One of them was also shot in the abdomen. One of the women was shot in the left side of her brain, which may affect her neurological abilities, leaving her with "motor or expressive or receptive issues," said Dr. Russi. They are both currently being cared for in the ICU unit.

Observing how quickly the hospital prepared for the incoming patients, Russi said by 11 a.m. on Thursday it had team of 63 nurses and physicians ready for the victims. But the tragedy of the day still affected him personally.

"I went home and cried," he said. "It doesn't make sense to me. I don't understand it."

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Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said during a press conference Friday afternoon that law enforcement recovered a cache of weapons from the shooter and his apartment. The families are "living through a nightmare," he said.

"Families are currently living through a nightmare in the most personal way possible," he said, adding that as families were notified, authorities would share their identities "in future press conferences."

He also said that his office was not going to confirm the name of the shooter, but that the medical examiner would likely release his name "sometime today."

"I continue to believe those who publicize his name will only glorify his horrific actions," Hanlin said.

Celinez Nunez with ATF announced that authorities had recovered a total of 14 weapons, all of which had been purchased legally in the past three years. Of those, six were recovered at the school — five handguns and one rifle — and seven were recovered at the shooter's residence.

The remaining gun had been traded in, she said.

The ATF also found a flak jacket with steel plates inside, and five magazines. Two pistols, four rifles, and one shotgun were recovered at the apartment.

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Shooter Christopher Harper-Mercer was discharged from the Army, spokesperson Lt. Col. Ben Garrett told BuzzFeed News.

A review of Army records indicate that Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer was in service at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, from Nov. 5 until Dec. 11, 2008, but was discharged for failing to meet the minimum administrative standards to serve in the U.S. Army.

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The White House released this photo of President Obama's reaction while watching coverage of the Oregon shooting:

. @POTUS "reacts in exasperation" while watching coverage of #UCCShooting, according to WH photographer @petesouza

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Two-time Super Bowl Champion Troy Polamalu, who grew up with his uncle in southern Oregon, said he was thankful his "brother" was unharmed in the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College.

Polamalu's cousin, Brandon Polamalu, is a teacher at the community college.

According to Oregon Live, Brandon Polamalu was teaching in Snyder Hall, where the shooting took place, but texted his mother to tell her he was "OK."

In a Facebook post, Troy Polamalu said "our larger Roseburg family still needs our love and care."

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Chris Mintz, an Army veteran and UCC student, was shot at least fives times as he tried to stop the gunman.

Mintz's aunt, Yana Mintz, told BuzzFeed News that her nephew heard a woman yelling for help when the gunfire started. Mintz charged toward the gunman and in the process was shot five to seven times, Yana said, who is in contact with Mintz's father. He was struck in the back, abdomen, and hands and broke both of his legs, she said.

"He did what he had to do to help," Yana said. "I'm sure he didn't even think twice about it."

Read the full story here.

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U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch addresses the shooting during a speech in Massachusetts on Friday:

I want to take a moment to address the devastating events that occurred yesterday at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. Like you, I was shocked and appalled by this monstrous and tragic attack.

Although we are still gathering information, the Department of Justice is already on the ground assisting local law enforcement and we will continue to do everything we can to support the Douglas County community going forward.

My heart goes out to all those affected by this heinous crime and I know that the entire Justice Department family — and all of us here today — will keep the victims and their loved ones in our thoughts and prayers.

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The Umpqua Community College gunman reportedly wore body armor during the rampage, and one of the four guns he used was not registered to him, CBS News reported.

JUST IN: Police say #UCCShooting gunman left behind hate-filled note at the scene detailing what an official called "a philosophy of hate."

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One shooting victim at the college had dreams of becoming a pediatric nurse.

Lucero Alcaraz (center)

Lucero Alcaraz, 19, was one of the 10 victims who died Thursday when a gunman opened fire on the Umpqua Community College campus, her sister confirmed to BuzzFeed News.

Eileen Alcaraz said this was her sister's first year in college. She hadn't picked a major yet, but was hoping to become a nurse or a pediatrician. Eileen, 14, was referred to BuzzFeed News after an adult answered the phone.

Lucero loved to draw and was a great artist, her sister said, adding that she was "the responsible one" of the family's six siblings.

The oldest sister, Maria, wrote on Facebook that her sister would one day make a great pediatric nurse.

"I'm so proud of you for getting you college completely paid through scholarships and you made it into college honors," she wrote. "You were going to do great things love."

Read more here.

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Mercy Medical Center's chief medical officer said his hospital treated 10 patients – one died – conflicting with the sheriff's statement that seven people were injured.

Dr. Jason Gray, the chief medical officer at Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg, said in a news conference on Friday morning that "we received 10 patients" from the college.

Of those, three were transferred to intensive care facilities. Two were treated and released. Four underwent surgery — two were discharged, one is in critical condition, and one is in stable condition. One died. The shooter was not treated at his hospital.

When asked why his injury count contradicted the sheriff's, Gray said he couldn't explain it.

All of the injured suffered gunshot wounds, he said, to the abdomen, thorax, and extremities. He said he doesn't know all the victim's names.

The victims' families and community are gripped by "disbelief, anger, sadness" he said, and that "many people are quite numb."

Another hospital, PeaceHealth, has two patients in critical condition and one in serious, he said.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.