The small town of Roseburg, Oregon, was shaken up on the morning of October 1st when a mass shooting took place at Umpqua Community College. A 26-year-old student, Christopher Harper-Mercer, fatally shot nine people and wounded nine others on campus. He then killed himself during a shootout with responding police officers.
On that Thursday morning, a 911 call was made with reports of the shooting starting when Harper-Mercer’s barged into his own writing class and shot his professor point blank. He then came to each student one by one and told them to state their religion. The students who exposed their Christian faith were shot right in the head, but those who answered otherwise were shot in the foot. Those who survived reported that before killing the Christians, Harper-Mercer said “Good, because you are a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second.”
Many of the teachers and students were severely wounded or even killed while trying to protect others. Chris Mintz a 30- year-old army veteran, confronted Harper-Mercer and told him not to shoot, but was shot seven times. He is currently undergoing intense surgery and may need several years of physical therapy just to learn how to walk again. Others weren’t so lucky. An older female teacher was shot several times in the stomach as she tried to shut the door before the gunmen could enter but was killed instantly.
Within five minutes of the first emergency call, two Roseburg officers were on the scene and begin exchanging gunfire with Harper-Mercer until he then shot himself. He was discovered to be armed with three pistols and a semi automatic rifle.
Authorities searched through his home and found that he had additional firearms, bringing in a total of 14 guns owned. His entire family was in shock over the event and released this statement, “We are shocked and deeply saddened by the horrific events that unfolded on Thursday, October 1. Our thoughts, our hearts and our prayers go out to all of the families of those who died and were injured.”
The background of Harper-Mercer’s history is quite alarming as law enforcement also found evidence of his obsession with guns, white supremacy, and bitter hatred towards Christians. His Facebook profile included “a reference to Nazi Germany” with the quote: “When all the pleasures of the world have diluted, the only thing left that is pure is power.” In an online dating profile, one of his descriptions read that he disliked organized religion.
He graduated from Switzer Learning Center which taught students with emotional difficulties and special needs. And neighbors recalled him being a timid and strange boy.
The town of Roseburg is in the process of healing from the horrific ordeal. It ranks as the deadliest among dozens of U.S. mass shootings in the past two years.