What we know about Chris Harper-Mercer, gunman ID’d in Oregon college shooting
The gunman who killed nine people at an Umpqua Community College in Oregon on Thursday has been identified as 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer.
Douglas Country Sheriff John Hanlin said during a press conference late Thursday evening that while police know the identity of the shooter he would leave it to the medical examiner’s officer to officially give the media his name.
“I will not name the shooter,” said Hanlin. “I will not give him the credit he probably sought prior to this horrific and cowardly act.”
Instead, Hanlin asked the media and the public to focus their attention on the victims and their families.
The New York Times reported that Mercer lived in the Roseburg area of Oregon.
“He appears to be an angry young man who was very filled with hate,” a U.S. law enforcement official said.
CNN also identified Mercer as the shooter and said officials were speaking to his family and friends to try and determine a motive for the shooting rampage.
Speaking with The Associated Press, a neighbour of Mercer’s said he “seemed really unfriendly” and would “sit by himself in the dark in the balcony with this little light.”
The Daily Beast reported a MySpace account belonging to Christopher Harper Mercer is registered in Torrance, California. Mercer and his mother previously lived in Torrance before moving to an apartment in Winchester, Oregon.
The profile on the social media site features a photo of a smiling Mercer holding a gun. The profile also includes pro-Irish Republican Army images.
On the dating website Spiritual Passions, Mercer appears to have a profile under the name IRONCROSS45.
He describes himself as “mixed-race,” “conservative” and an “introvert” and that he’s “not religious, but spiritual.” The man also said he is “shy at first, but warm up quickly, better in small groups.”
Online attention seemed to also focus on a blog post on the video-sharing website KickassTorrents, that Mercer allegedly wrote under the name Lithium_Love.
In the post, he talks about Vester Flanagan, the former broadcast journalist who killed a reporter and photojournalist on live TV last month.
“On an interesting note, I have noticed that so many people like him are all alone and unknown, yet they spill a little blood, the whole world knows who they are,” the website user wrote. “A man who was known by no one, is now known by everyone.”
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Kortney Moore, 18, told the Roseburg News-Review newspaper that she was in a writing class at Umpqua Community College when the shooting started.
Moore said the gunman entered her classroom and told people to get on the ground. She said the man started asking people to stand up and state their religion before opening fire.
On Friday, The Associated Press reported that Mercer had body armour and was armed with three handguns, a rifle and had five additional magazines.
The guns included a 9mm Glock pistol and .40-calibre Smith & Wesson, both traced to the suspect.
He also had a .40-calibre Taurus pistol traced to someone in Portland and a .556-calibre Del-Ton, according to an incident report obtained by the Associated Press.
However, during a Friday morning press conference, police said at least 13 weapons were recovered. Of the 13 weapons, six were recovered at the scene of the shooting and seven others were found at the suspect’s home.
Police said all weapons were purchased legally.
The Sheriff’s office said Thursday because this is a “mass casualty event,” identifying the victims and notifying their families could take up to 48 hours.
“We have paired up deputies and victim specialists with each family as we work through the process of identifying all of the victims,” the statement said.
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