Police said 10 people were killed at the college, including the 26-year-old gunman, and seven others were injured. Earlier reports were that there were up to 15 killed and more than 20 injured.
Harper Mercer was a student at the school and was enrolled in the class where the shooting began, the Roseburg News-Review reports.
The victims have been all been identified (read about them here).
At a press conference on Friday, authorities said police recovered 13 weapons — six at the school and the rest at the gunman’s residence. All were purchased legally, some by the shooter and some by family members. Police also recovered a flak jacket “with steel plates” and several ammunition magazines.
Harper Mercer is from Torrance, California, and most recently lived in Winchester, Oregon, which is near the school. He lived with his mother Laurel Harper, in an apartment complex (read more about her here).
KPTV reports that there is a heavy police presence in his community.
“He appears to be an angry young man who was very filled with hate,” a law enforcement official told the New York Times.
Here’s what we know about Harper Mercer and the shooting:
1. He Fatally Shot Himself After ‘Heroic’ Cops Quickly Responded to the School
Police said in radio transmissions that the gunman was inside a classroom in Snyder Hall when they arrived at about 10:40 a.m. local time. Harper Mercer exchanged fire with police, according to the officers on the scene. The sheriff said at least two “heroic” officers responded to the scene within minutes and exchanged fire with Harper Mercer. He fatally shot himself during the shootout.
The shooter was armed with four guns, three handguns and an AR-15-style long gun, according to CNN.
You can listen to the police radio audio below:
The first 911 calls reported an active shooting with one victim. Police said they found multiple people dead and wounded when they arrived. The gunman was reported to be down about nine minutes after the shooting was first reported to police.
The shooting happened in a class that Harper Mercer was enrolled in.
Witnesses said the gunman told the students in the classroom to stand up and state their religion before he began firing away, the News-Review, a local newspaper, reports.
Kortney Moore, an 18-year-old student, told the newspaper that she was in her writing class in Snyder Hall when a shot came through a window. She said she saw her teacher get shot in the head and the gunman entered the room, telling people to get on the ground. Moore said he then told people to stand up and state their religion, before firing away. She was lying on the ground with people who were shot.
A witness said the shooting happened in Professor Larry Levine’s class:
According to the university’s website, Levine is an assistant professor in the school’s English department. He was one of the nine victims killed in the shooting.
One of the victims, Chris Mintz, a 30-year-old Army veteran, father and student, tried to take down the gunman inside the classroom. He was shot five times, and survived, but will have to learn to walk again, his family says. Read more about him at the link below:
2. He Left Behind a Note Saying He Was ‘In a Bad Way’ & Had ‘No Life’
Chris Harper Mercer gave a random student a suicide note during the shooting rampage, NBC News reports. In the note, which has not been made public, Harper Mercer said that he was “in a bad way” and had “no life,” according to NBC.
He also wrote, he hoped he would be “welcomed in Hell and embraced by the devil.”
More details about the gunman’s life emerged on Friday. He attended a high school for students with special needs in California and was kicked out of the Army in 2008.
He was discharged by the Army just five weeks into basic training, the Oregonian reports.
The Torrance Daily Breeze reports that he moved from California to Oregon in 2013. He graduated in 2009 from the Switzer Learning Center with four other students. The school is for students with learning disabilities and emotional issues, the newspaper reports.
Harper Mercer’s father, who is from England, lives in Texas.
It’s not yet known how long Harper Mercer has been a student at the school or how well he knew the victims.
A post on the Centerstage Theater at UCC’s Facebook page Wednesday night lists a Chris Harper-Mercer as a production assistant in an upcoming show. It’s not clear whether that is the same person as the shooter. The theater is affiliated with the school.
The Facebook page was later taken down.
3. He Says on a Dating Profile That He ‘Doesn’t Like Organized Religion’ & Is a ‘Conservative, Republican’
On his dating profile on the website Spiritual Passions, Chris Harper Mercer says that he “doesn’t like organized religion.”
He writes that he is, “Not Religious, Not Religious, but Spiritual.” And says, under personality that he is, a “lover, conservative, professional, intellectual, introvert.” He also says under interests, “internet, killing zombies, movies, music, reading.”
Harper Mercer says he is “mixed race,” doesn’t drink and is a “conservative, Republican.”
4. He Wrote On His Blog ‘Seems the More People You Kill, the More You’re in the Limelight’
Harper Mercer had a blog on the website Kickass Torrents, and also often uploaded to the file-sharing website. One of his last uploads was a documentary about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting:
On the blog, he wrote about Vester Flanagan, the disgruntled former TV reporter who killed a reporter and cameraman in Virginia in August.
“On an interesting note, I have noticed that so many people like him are all alone and unknown, yet when they spill a little blood, the whole world knows who they are. A man who was known by no one, is now known by everyone. His face splashed across every screen, his name across the lips of every person on the planet, all in the course of one day. Seems the more people you kill, the more your’re in the limelight,” he wrote.
He also wrote about the shooting of a police officer in Houston, Texas, saying “This whole event seems similar to the one in new york earlier this year where that guy killed those two cops sitting in a parked car. The inflammatory rhetoric on both sides, whether warranted or not will only continue to agitate the situation and events such as these will happen more and more. These are just my thoughts on the matter. Will continue to post more blogs on related subjects, as well any interesting thoughts I may have.”
He added, “In case anyone’s wondering, I’m not on the side of the suspect, I’m on the side of the officer, and generally don’t agree with the black lives matter protests.”
In another post, titled, “The material world is a lie,” he wrote:
The material world is a lie. For so long we have been taught that what’s important in life is to buy this and have that. To always have the latest fashion, biggest tv, fanciest car, nicest house, and blah,blah, blah. Well, the truth is we’ve become so attached to these things, our spiritual development has been halted. Just like they say in fight club “We become owned by the things we own”. Most people will spend hours standing in front of stores just to buy a new iphone. Those same people will complain about how they don’t have enough money but will always have money to spend on apple products. This attachment produces so much of the stress and worrying in the world today. I used to be like that, always concerned about what clothes I had, rather than whether or not I was happy. But not anymore. Since then I have learned the truth that such attachments are falsehoods and will only bring misery.This is my first blog post, there will be more to come.
He also posted on the website that he has never had a girlfriend.
The blog matches his email address, email@example.com, which he used on his dating profiles.
5. The Internet Tore Apart an Innocent 4Chan Poster Whose Name & YouTube Videos Were Tied to the Shooting
Before the actual name of the shooter was released, a different name, Toby Reynolds, also known as Egg Man, spread on social media and some websites as the shooter.
He called NBC News and told them he was alive and not the shooter.
YouTube videos he posted spread quickly across the internet.
A post on the message board 4Chan Wednesday night at 7:19 p.m. local time that said “Some of you guys are alright. Don’t go to school tomorrow if you live in the northwest,” is being investigated as possibly connected to the shooting.
In the discussion thread, some users told him not to do it, while others encouraged him and gave him ideas for how he could kill people.
One person responded saying, “I suggest you enter a classroom and tell people that you will take them as hostages. Make everyone get in one corner and then open fire. Make sure that there is no way that someone can disarm you as it it possible. I suggest you carry a knife on your belt as last resort if someone is holding your gun.”
Another poster said, “You might want to target a girls school which is safer because there are no beta males throwing themselves for their rescue. Do not use a shotgun. I would suggest a powerful assault rifle and a pistol or 2x pistols. Possibly the type of pistols who have 15+ ammo.”
It’s not clear if the 4 Chan posts were connected to the actual shooter, Chris Harper Mercer.
Read more about that post at the link below:
Read more about the tragedy in Spanish at AhoraMismo.com: