Oregon gunman enrolled at college he attacked in deadly rampage

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More Details Emerge on Oregon Gunman

A heavily armed gunman who shot to death an English professor and eight others in an Oregon community college classroom was identified on Friday as a student in the class who previously had been turned away from a private firearms training academy.

A day after a rampage at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg that ended with 10 dead, including the gunman, and nine wounded, authorities sought a motive for the bloodiest U.S. mass shooting among the dozens reported over the past two years.

SEE MORE: Oregon gunman may have killed more if not for hero student

As further details of the Roseburg shooting emerged, a former girlfriend of one of the wounded survivors, a U.S. military veteran, revealed that his heroism in confronting the shooter may have saved others from being killed.

The state medical examiner on Friday confirmed that the assailant, shot dead by police, had been identified as Christopher Harper-Mercer, 26, and that he was enrolled in the writing class in which Thursday's carnage unfolded.

The gunman carried six guns, body armor and five magazines of bullets with him to campus. Seven more firearms were found with a stockpile of ammunition at the apartment he shared with his mother just outside Roseburg, a former timber town about 180 miles (290 km) south of Portland.

Celinez Nunez, assistant special agent of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said all the weapons had been purchased legally.

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Oregon gunman enrolled at college he attacked in deadly rampage

Chris Harper-Mercer, 26

Photo via Myspace 

Authorities respond to a report of a shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (Michael Sullivan /The News-Review via AP)
Police search students outside Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, following a deadly shooting at the college. (Mike Sullivan/Roseburg News-Review via AP)
Students, staff and faculty are evacuated from Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore. Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, after a deadly shooting. (Michael Sullivan/The News-Review via AP)
Authorities carry a shooting victim away from the scene after a gunman opened fire at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (Mike Sullivan/Roseburg News-Review via AP)
Authorities move from building to building to secure the campus at Umpqua Community College after a report of a deadly shooting, in Roseburg, Ore., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (Michael Sullivan/The News-Review via AP) 
Students, staff and faculty are evacuated from Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore. after a deadlyshooting Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (Michael Sullivan /The News-Review via AP) 
Members of law enforcement have a meeting at the local fairgrounds after a deadly shooting at Umpqua Community College, in Roseburg, Ore., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
People hold signs for free rides as friends and family wait for students at the local fairgrounds after a deadly shooting at Umpqua Community College, in Roseburg, Ore., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
Friends and family leave the county fairgrounds in Roseburg, Ore., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, following a deadly shooting at nearby Umpqua Community College. Students and faculty were bused to the fairgrounds where counselors were available and some parents waited for their children. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
Hannah Miles, a student at Umqua Community College, looks outward during an interview in Roseburg, Ore., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. Miles says she was in the classroom next door to a deadly shooting on the campus. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
Friends and family are reunited with students at the local fairgrounds after a deadly shooting at Umpqua Community College, in Roseburg, Ore., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
A woman is comforted as friends and family wait for students at the local fairgrounds after a shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
People gather at a road block near the entrance to Umpqua Community College, in Roseburg, Ore., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, following a deadly shooting at the campus. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
Friends and family are reunited with students at the local fairgrounds after a deadly shooting at Umpqua Community College, in Roseburg, Ore., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
People wait for information at the local fairgrounds after a deadly shooting at Umpqua Community College, in Roseburg, Ore., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
A woman is comforted as friends and family wait for students at the local fairgrounds after a shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
A woman speaks on her cellphone as friends and family are reunited with students at the local fairgrounds after a deadly shooting at Umpqua Community College, in Roseburg, Ore., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
Friends and family are reunited with students at the local fairgrounds after a deadly shooting at Umpqua Community College, in Roseburg, Ore., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
Hannah Miles, center, is reunited with her sister Hailey Miles, left, and father Gary Miles, right, after a shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
People wait for information at the local fairgrounds after a deadly shooting at Umpqua Community College, in Roseburg, Ore., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
Two woman wait outside Umpqua Community College campus after a shooting at the school in Roseburg, Ore., on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
Map locates Roseburg, Oregon, where a shooting took place; 1c x 2 inches; with BC-US--Oregon School Shooting; ETA 4 p.m. ; 3c x 3 1/2 inches; 146 mm x 88 mm;
People wait for information at the local fairgrounds after a deadly shooting at Umpqua Community College, in Roseburg, Ore., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
Police search students outside Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, following a deadly shooting at the southwestern Oregon community college. (Mike Sullivan/Roseburg News-Review via AP)
A bullet casing is marked at the scene of a deadly shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (Michael Sullivan/The News-Review via AP)
Paramedics return to their ambulances after delivering patients to Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg, Ore., following a deadly shooting at Umpqua Community College, in Roseburg, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (Aaron Yost/Roseburg News-Review via AP)
A patient is wheeled into the emergency room at Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg, Ore., following a deadly shooting at Umpqua Community College, in Roseburg, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (Aaron Yost/Roseburg News-Review via AP)
Journalist raises their hands as White House Press secretary Josh Earnest speaks to the media during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. Earnest responded to a report of multiple shootings at Umpqua Community College in central Oregon. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama speaks in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, about the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., about 180 miles south of Portland. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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'KIND OF A WEIRD GUY'

Harper-Mercer's preoccupation with firearms dated back at least to 2012 or 2013, when he sought to register for training at Seven 4 Para, a private self-defense and law enforcement academy in Torrance, California, where he lived at the time, said Eloy Way, president and head instructor for the center.

"We wanted him to take a beginner safety course, and he was trying to tell me that he already had experience with firearms, and I didn't get a good feeling about him, so I turned him down," Way told Reuters.

"He was just kind of a weird guy and seemed kind of spoiled, immature," Way recalled. "He was a little bit too anxious to get high-level training, and there was no reason for it."

Way's concerns that Harper-Mercer might misuse the training he would receive at the academy proved prescient.

The gunman stormed into his college classroom, shot the professor in the head and then ordered cowering students to stand up and state their religion, asking if they were Christian, before shooting them one by one, survivors said.

The intervention of another student, Chris Mintz, 30, a U.S. Army combat veteran who served in Iraq, may have played a key role in preventing a higher casualty toll.

As the gunman moved toward an adjoining classroom, Mintz tried to stop him, according to Jamie Skinner, Mintz's former girlfriend and the mother of their 6-year-old son. The gunman opened fire, striking Mintz.

On the ground bleeding, Mintz pleaded with the shooter, telling him it was his son's birthday, but the gunman fired additional rounds, Skinner recounted, adding that the gunman then changed direction and entered a different room.

"The assailant was not able to make it into the classroom, because Chris stopped him," she said, adding that Mintz was hospitalized with two broken legs and seven bullet wounds.

SEE MORE: Oregon shooting victims named:

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Oregon gunman enrolled at college he attacked in deadly rampage
The photos of three of the victims of the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College are displayed at a news conference, Friday, Oct. 2, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. In the photos, from left, are Quinn Cooper, 18, Lucas Eibel,18, center, and Jason Johnson, 33. They were among those killed when Chris Harper Mercer, walked into a class at the community college, Thursday, and opened fire. At left is Portland Police Sgt. Pete Simpson.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Jason Johnson, 33, got his HS diploma this year. He was killed on his 4th day of community college. #UCCshooting http://t.co/raTGL02wc4
Quinn Glen Cooper, 18, of Roseburg just graduated high school in June. http://t.co/EG1QOUqciE http://t.co/3BFQGEXEsc
Lucas Eibel, 18-year-old quadruplet, animal lover, among those mourned in Oregon #UCCShooting http://t.co/8TDTLWpTYO http://t.co/Jz1xuU1gBC
Lucero Alcaraz, 19 was in UCC’s honors program & wanted to be a pediatric nurse http://t.co/ZeRYokMuEe #UCCShooting http://t.co/TwWL8B7KGv
The Victims: #UCCshooting victim Kim Saltmarsh Dietz. Her daughter is also a UCC student, unharmed, but lost mom. http://t.co/gRIfB43rK4
Oregon shooting victim Lawrence Levine had simple needs, complex mind #UCCShooting http://t.co/3HE31w3rro http://t.co/gijgrMoBPi
Sarena Dawn Moore, 44, is being mourned by her sons and other family members. #UCCShooting http://t.co/EG1QOUqciE http://t.co/RyYBeG7VbD
We remember Kim Saltmarsh Dietz, 59, Sarena Dawn Moore, 44, Treven Taylor Anspach, 20 #UCCShooting http://t.co/xRcxM0F50T
“She had the biggest heart, an amazing soul.” Rebecka Ann Carnes was 18. #UCCShooting http://t.co/RXuq4AADvx http://t.co/laKRU5vCZW
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RENEWED GUN DEBATE

The Oregon shooting, the latest in a series of high-profile mass killings across the country, has led to fresh demands for stricter gun control in the United States, including an impassioned plea by Democratic President Barack Obama for political action, and statements by some Republican presidential candidates supporting the right of Americans to bear arms.

Among those to have championed the gun rights cause in the past was Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin, who has refused since the shooting to comment on the debate and has repeatedly declined to name the Roseburg gunman during news conferences.

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