Oregon college shaken by massacre reopens with counselors, comfort dogs

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Oregon's Umpqua Community College Reopens After Campus Massacre

Students were welcomed back on Monday by grief counselors and comfort dogs to the small Oregon community college shattered by a shooting rampage that left 10 people dead, though classes were to remain canceled through the week.

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The campus of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, about 180 miles (300 km) south of Portland, was reopened to registered students and staff four days after the massacre, allowing them to retrieve vehicles and other belongings left behind in Thursday's pandemonium.

See images of the Oregon shooting vigils:

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Oregon school shooting vigils, Umpqua Community College
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Oregon college shaken by massacre reopens with counselors, comfort dogs
Balloons, flowers and notes of community support rest along a fence near Umpqua Community College, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. Monday was the first day back to campus for students since the deadliest shooting in state history on Oct. 1. (Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via AP, Pool)
Cards hang at Umpqua Community College, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. Monday was the first day back to campus for students since the deadliest shooting in state history on Oct. 1. (Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via AP, Pool)
A black ribbon is seen painted on the field of Autzen Stadium commemorating the victims of the campus shooting at Umpqua Community College before an NCAA college football game between Washington State and Oregon Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
Charley Thompson, left, and his wife Rachel Thompson embrace as they place flowers at a makeshift memorial near the road leading to Umpqua Community College, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. Armed with multiple guns, Chris Harper Mercer walked in a classroom at the community college, Thursday, and opened fire, killing several and wounding several others. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Brittany Gaddis prays during a prayer vigil Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, in Winston, Ore. The vigil was held in honor of the victims of the fatal shooting at Umpqua Community College on Thursday. (AP Photo/John Locher)
ROSE BURG, OR - OCTOBER 09: A general view of a makeshift memorial including flowers and drawings outside Snyder Hall on the Umpqua Community College Campus on October 9, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Snyder Hall is where a gunman killed eight students and a writing teacher and injured nine others in a campus shooting on October 1, 2015. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
ROSE BURG, OR - OCTOBER 09: A close up of hearts with the names of the victims are part of a makeshift memorial near the campus of Umpqua Community College Campus on October 9, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. A gunman killed eight students and a writing teacher and injured nine others in a campus there in a shooting on October 1, 2015. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
ROSE BURG, OR - OCTOBER 09: A general view of a makeshift memorial and black plastic tarp outside Snyder Hall on the Umpqua Community College Campus on October 9, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Snyder Hall is where a gunman killed eight students and a writing teacher and injured nine others in a campus shooting on October 1, 2015. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
ROSE BURG, OR - OCTOBER 09: A general view of a makeshift memorial near the campus of Umpqua Community College Campus on October 9, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. A gunman killed eight students and a writing teacher and injured nine others in a campus there in a shooting on October 1, 2015. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
ROSE BURG, OR - OCTOBER 09: Bayleigh Case (4) of Roseburg look at the flowers and balloons at a makeshift memorial near the campus of Umpqua Community College Campus on October 9, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. A gunman killed eight students and a writing teacher and injured nine others in a campus there in a shooting on October 1, 2015. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Kristen Sterner, left, and Carrissa Welding, both students of Umpqua Community College, embrace each other during a candle light vigil for those killed during a fatal shooting at the college, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Hundreds of people gather for a vigil in Roseburg, Oregon on October 1, 2015, for ten people killed and seven others wounded in a shooting at a community college in the western US state of Oregon. The 26-year-old gunman, identified by US media as Chris Harper Mercer, was killed following a shootout with police. A visibly angry President Barack Obama made an impassioned plea for gun control in the wake of the shooting, blasting Congress for its failure to act in the face of 'routine' mass killings. AFP PHOTO/JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman cries while holding her daughter during a vigil in Roseburg, Oregon on October 1, 2015, for ten people killed and seven others wounded in a shooting at a community college in the western US state of Oregon. The shooter -- identified by US media as Chris Harper Mercer, 26 -- opened fire in a classroom at Umpqua Community College in rural Roseburg, then moved to other rooms methodically gunning down his victims, witnesses said. AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
A girl prays during a vigil in Roseburg, Oregon on October 1, 2015, for ten people killed and seven others wounded in a shooting at a community college in the western US state of Oregon. The 26-year-old gunman, identified by US media as Chris Harper Mercer, was killed following a shootout with police. A visibly angry President Barack Obama made an impassioned plea for gun control in the wake of the shooting, blasting Congress for its failure to act in the face of 'routine' mass killings. AFP PHOTO/JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
Diana Nicolay, a former employee of Umpqua Community College, wears a school sweatshirt during a candlelight vigil for those killed during a fatal shooting at the school Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Meriah Calvert, left, of Roseburg, Ore., and an unidentified woman pray by candles spelling out the initials for Umpqua Community College after a candlelight vigil Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. A man opened fire at the school before dying in a shootout with police. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A young woman reacts during a vigil in Roseburg, Oregon on October 1, 2015, for ten people killed and seven others wounded in a shooting at a community college in the western US state of Oregon. The shooter -- identified by US media as Chris Harper Mercer, 26 -- opened fire in a classroom at Umpqua Community College in rural Roseburg, then moved to other rooms methodically gunning down his victims, witnesses said. AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
People hold candles during a vigil in Roseburg, Oregon on October 1, 2015, for ten people killed and seven others wounded in a shooting at a community college in the western US state of Oregon. The shooter -- identified by US media as Chris Harper Mercer, 26 -- opened fire in a classroom at Umpqua Community College in rural Roseburg, then moved to other rooms methodically gunning down his victims, witnesses said. AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
Mourners react during a vigil in Roseburg, Oregon on October 1, 2015, for ten people killed and seven others wounded in a shooting at a community college in the western US state of Oregon. The 26-year-old gunman, identified by US media as Chris Harper Mercer, was killed following a shootout with police. A visibly angry President Barack Obama made an impassioned plea for gun control in the wake of the shooting, blasting Congress for its failure to act in the face of 'routine' mass killings. AFP PHOTO/JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
ROSEBURG, OREGON - OCTOBER 1: Governor Kate Brown of Oregon attends at a candlelight vigil for the victims of a shooting at Umpqua Community College October 1, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. According to reports, 10 were killed and 20 injured when a gunman opened fire at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. (Photo by Michael Lloyd/Getty Images)
Umpqua Community College student Nichole Zamarripa, right, is consoled during a candlelight vigil for those killed during a shooting at the school, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Mourners hold up candles during a candlelight vigil at Stewart Park, in Roseburg, Ore., for those killed during a fatal shooting at nearby Umpqua Community College, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
A girl who allegedly had multiple family members involved in a shooting at her college campus, reacts during a vigil in Roseburg, Oregon on October 1, 2015, for ten people have been confirmed killed and seven others wounded in a shooting at a community college in the western US state of Oregon, a local official said. The 26-year-old gunman, identified by US media as Chris Harper Mercer, was killed following a shootout with police. A visibly angry President Barack Obama made an impassioned plea for gun control in the wake of the shooting, blasting Congress for its failure to act in the face of 'routine' mass killings. AFP PHOTO/JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
Kevin Crawford embraces his wife, Pam, during a candle light vigil for those killed during a shooting at Umpqua Community College, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Candles spelling UCC for Umpqua Community College, are displayed at a candlelight vigil for those killed during a fatal shooting at the school, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
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The reopening also was aimed at helping restore a sense of normalcy on campus before classes and other activities at the college of some 3,000 full-time students were due to resume next Monday, school officials said.

While the bucolic college, situated on a bend in the North Umpqua River, appeared peaceful as staff and students milled about, an atmosphere of trepidation prevailed among some of those returning on Monday.

"The anxiety of walking back on campus is very real," student Jared Norman said in a text message to Reuters, adding that his campus visit "begins the road to recovery."

He and other students met with the college student-life director on Sunday night in preparation for their return.

Students were greeted by teams of volunteers with six golden retrievers from the national K-9 Comfort Dogs network run by Lutheran Church Charities.

The group has worked at the scenes of various recent tragedies, including the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 children and six adults were shot to death by a gunman in December 2012, said Richard Martin, a volunteer from Northbrook, Illinois.

The college bookstore also was reopened, and an outdoor amphitheater on campus was set up with tables adorned with bouquets of flowers flanked by wreaths on stands, one with the message: "We Will Always Remember."

Law enforcement was not readily visible in the center of campus, but a mobile command post of the Douglas County Sheriff's Department remained set up in the parking lot.

A permanent billboard along the main road leading onto campus greeted returning faculty with the message: "Welcome back staff" in black capital letters.

The sunny, quiet tranquility stood in stark contrast to the fear that gripped the campus last Thursday in the midst of the deadliest U.S. mass shooting in two years and the bloodiest in Oregon's modern history.

See photos from after the tragedy:

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Oregon school shooting aftermath, Umpqua community college
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Oregon college shaken by massacre reopens with counselors, comfort dogs
People embrace during a prayer vigil Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, in Winston, Ore. The vigil was held in honor of the victims of the fatal shooting at Umpqua Community College on Thursday. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People walk on a path at Umpqua Community College, Monday, Oct. 5, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. The campus reopened on a limited basis for faculty and students for the first time since armed suspect Chris Harper-Mercer killed multiple people and wounded several others on Thursday before taking his own life at Snyder Hall. (AP Photo/John Locher)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 05: A sign at the edge of campus welcomes students and staff back to Umpqua Community College on October 5, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Despite crime scene tape still being stretched around large areas of the school, the campus was open to staff and students today for the first time since last Thursday when 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer went on a shooting rampage killing nine people and wounding another nine before he was killed. Classes are not scheduled to resume until next week. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Faculty members embrace as they are allowed to return to Umpqua Community College Monday, Oct. 5, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. The campus reopened to faculty for the first time since Oct. 1, when armed suspect Chris Harper-Mercer killed multiple people and wounded several others before taking his own life at Snyder Hall. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Ethan Hurley, 7, top right, prays with a church group at a makeshift memorial near Snyder Hall at Umpqua Community College, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. Armed suspect Chris Harper-Mercer on Thursday killed multiple people and wounded several others before taking his own life at Snyder Hall. (AP Photo/John Locher)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 04: Families Roseburg's Green Community Church and Lutheran Church Charities pause to pray at a memorial in front of Snyder Hall on the campus of Umpqua Community College on October 4, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Chris Harper Mercer, 26, went on a shooting rampage October 1 at the campus, killing nine people and wounding another nine before killing himself, according to published reports. Lacey says she believes she survived the shooting by playing dead next to the bleeding body of fellow student Treven Anspach, who died in the shooting. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
WINSTON, OR - OCTOBER 03: Residents of Douglas County attend a prayer service and candlelight vigil at River Bend Park to remember the victims of the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in nearby Roseburg on October 3, 2015 in Winston, Oregon. On Thursday 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer went on a shooting rampage at the college killing nine people and wounding another nine before killing himself. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 05: Umpqua Community College shooting survivor Mathew Downing (C) is greeted as he arrives on campus near Snyder Hall on October 5, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Downing was reported to have been given a package by gunman Chris Harper-Mercer and told he was the 'lucky one' who would survive to deliver the package to authorities. Despite crime scene tape still being stretched around large areas of the school, the campus was open to staff and students today for the first time since last Thursday when 26-year-old Harper-Mercer went on a shooting rampage in Snyder Hall killing nine people and wounding another nine before he was killed. Classes are not scheduled to resume until next week. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Ashley Katter, left, embraces Haley Lamphere while holding Katter's niece Ruby Abrahamson during a prayer vigil Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, in Winston, Ore. The vigil was held in honor of the victims of the fatal shooting at Umpqua Community College on Thursday. (AP Photo/John Locher)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 05: People hold a prayer circle outside Snyder Hall on the campus of Umpqua Community College on October 5, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Despite crime scene tape still being stretched around large areas of the school, the campus was open to staff and students today for the first time since last Thursday when 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer went on a shooting rampage in Snyder Hall killing nine people and wounding another nine before he was killed. Classes are not scheduled to resume until next week. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 05: Students Sharon Kirkham (L) and Kristapher Yates visit a memorial dedicated to the slain students on the campus of Umpqua Community College on October 5, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Despite crime scene tape still being stretched around large areas of the school, the campus was open to staff and students today for the first time since last Thursday when 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer went on a shooting rampage killing nine people and wounding another nine before he was killed. Classes are not scheduled to resume until next week. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 05: Police stand guard outside Snyder Hall on the campus of Umpqua Community College on October 5, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Despite crime scene tape still being stretched around large areas of the school, the campus was open to staff and students today for the first time since last Thursday when 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer went on a shooting rampage in Snyder Hall killing nine people and wounding another nine before he was killed. Classes are not scheduled to resume until next week. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Kyle Workman, second from right, holds his daughter Samantha Workman while sitting beside his wife Christina Workman who is holding their daughter Pepper Workman during a prayer vigil Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, in Winston, Ore. The vigil was held in honor of the victims of the fatal shooting at Umpqua Community College on Thursday. (AP Photo/John Locher)
WINSTON, ORE. -- SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2015: Led by Toni New, a Chaplain with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, not pictured, friends of the late Rebecka Ann Carnes, an Umpqua Community College mass shootings victim, embrace one another in prayer during a memorial service called 'Prayers for Roseburg,' at Riverbend Park in Winston, Ore., on Oct. 3, 2015. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 05: A faculty member walks past a privacy fence that surrounds Snyder Hall on the campus of Umpqua Community College as it reopens on October 5, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Despite crime scene tape still being stretched aroud large areas of the school, the campus was opened to staff and faculty today for the first time since October 1, when 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer went on a shooting rampage at Snyder, killing nine people and wounding another nine before he was killed. The campus is scheduled to open to students in the afternoon and classes are scheduled to resume next week. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 05: Police officers remove a barricade on the campus of Umpqua Community College as it reopens on October 5, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. The campus was opened to staff and faculty today for the first time since October 1, when 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer went on a shooting rampage killing nine people and wounding another nine before he was killed. The campus is scheduled to open to students in the afternoon and classes are scheduled to resume next week. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 05: Staff members embrace as they arrive on the campus of Umpqua Community College as it reopens on October 5, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Despite crime scene tape still being stretched aroud large areas of the school, the campus was opened to staff and faculty today for the first time since October 1, when 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer went on a shooting rampage killing nine people and wounding another nine before he was killed. The campus is scheduled to open to students in the afternoon and classes are scheduled to resume next week. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 05: A woman navigates crime scene tape as she holds flowers on the campus of Umpqua Community College as it reopens on October 5, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Despite crime scene tape still being stretched aroud large areas of the school, the campus was opened to staff and faculty today for the first time since October 1, when 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer went on a shooting rampage killing nine people and wounding another nine before he was killed. The campus is scheduled to open to students in the afternoon and classes are scheduled to resume next week. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 05: Staff members embrace as they arrive on the campus of Umpqua Community College as it reopens on October 5, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Despite crime scene tape still being stretched aroud large areas of the school, the campus was opened to staff and faculty today for the first time since October 1, when 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer went on a shooting rampage killing nine people and wounding another nine before he was killed. The campus is scheduled to open to students in the afternoon and classes are scheduled to resume next week. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Dr. Christine Seals speaks during a news conference at Umpqua Community College Monday, Oct. 5, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. The campus reopened on a limited basis for faculty and students for the first time since armed suspect Chris Harper-Mercer killed multiple people and wounded several others on Thursday before taking his own life at Snyder Hall. (AP Photo/John Locher)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 05: Police officers remove crime scene tape on the campus of Umpqua Community College as it reopens on October 5, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. The campus was opened to staff and faculty today for the first time since October 1, when 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer went on a shooting rampage killing nine people and wounding another nine before he was killed. The campus is scheduled to open to students in the afternoon and classes are scheduled to resume next week. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Authorities block a road leading to the Umpqua Community College Friday, Oct. 2, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. Armed with multiple guns, Chris Harper Mercer, 26, walked in a classroom at the community college, Thursday, and opened fire, killing several and wounding several others. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Douglas County Deputy Sheriff Greg Kennerly, left, and Oregon State Trooper Tom Willis, stand guard outside the apartment building, Friday Oct. 2 2015, where alleged Umpqua Community College gunman Chris Harper Mercer lived, in Roseburg, Ore. Armed with multiple guns, Harper, 26, walked in a writing class at the community college, Thursday, and opened fire, killing several and wounding several others. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Law enforcement officers investigate a home in Roseburg, Ore., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. A gunman opened fire inside a classroom at Umpqua Community College before dying in a shootout with police. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
A building on the Umpqua Community College campus is seen on a hill as birds fly over the North Umpqua River Friday, Oct. 2, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. Armed with multiple guns, Chris Harper Mercer, 26, walked in a classroom at the community college, Thursday, and opened fire, killing several and wounding several others. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A sign hangs on a fence near the road leading to the Umpqua Community College campus Friday, Oct. 2, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. Armed with multiple guns, Chris Harper Mercer, 26, walked into a classroom at the community college, Thursday, and opened fire, killing multiple people and wounding several others. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Authorities block a road leading to the Umpqua Community College Friday, Oct. 2, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. Armed with multiple guns, Chris Harper Mercer, 26, walked in a classroom at the community college, Thursday, and opened fire, killing several and wounding several others. (AP Photo/John Locher)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 02: Media vehicles line the road near Umpqua Community College on October 2, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Yesterday 10 people were killed and another seven were wounded on the campus when 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer went on a shooting rampage. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 02: Emergency workers block access to Umpqua Community College on October 2, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Yesterday 10 people were killed and another seven were wounded on the campus when 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer went on a shooting rampage. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 02: Crime scene tape limits access to Umpqua Community College on October 2, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Yesterday 10 people were killed and seven were wounded on the campus when 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer went on a shooting rampage. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
TARZANA, CA OCTOBER 2: LAPD outside the home of Ian Harper Friday morning October 2, 2015 in Tarzana. Harper is the father of Oregon shooting suspect, Chris Harper Mercer. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
TARZANA, CA OCTOBER 2: Media set up outside the home of Ian Harper Friday morning October 2, 2015 in Tarzana. Harper is the father of Oregon shooting suspect, Chris Harper Mercer. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 02: A media vehicle sits under a sign in a hotel parking lot which advertises Umpqua Community College on October 2, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Yesterday 10 people were killed and another seven were wounded on the campus when 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer went on a shooting rampage. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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A gunman, later identified as Christopher Harper-Mercer, 26, stormed into his writing class in Snyder Hall, shot the professor at point-blank range and began picking off cowering classmates one at a time as he questioned them their religion, according to survivors' accounts.

The assailant ultimately died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after exchanging shots with police officers who arrived on the scene to confront him. Besides the English professor and eight students slain in the rampage, nine other people were wounded, three of them critically.

Parents of two survivors revealed over the weekend that the gunman had handed an envelope to one of the male students in the class, whose life the suspect deliberately spared. CNN reported on Sunday that the envelope contained a computer flash drive that the surviving student turned over to authorities immediately afterward.

Authorities said Harper-Mercer, who moved from the Los Angeles suburb of Torrance, California, to Oregon with his mother in 2013, carried six guns, five magazines of bullets and body armor with him to campus the day of the killings.

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Another eight firearms and a stockpile of ammo were recovered from the apartment he and his mother shared a short distance from the college, officials said.

Authorities have revealed little of what they may know about Harper-Mercer's motives. The FBI and local sheriff have declined to comment on media reports that he left behind racist writings.

People who knew him casually have described Harper-Mercer as a withdrawn, socially awkward loner. After a brief, failed stint in the U.S. Army that ended with an administrative discharge, he graduated from a nonprofit school in Torrance that catered to students with learning and emotional disabilities.

He was by all accounts preoccupied with guns, a passion he was reported to have shared with his mother, who spent time with her son at target ranges.

The head of a private firearms academy in Torrance has said Harper-Mercer sought to register for classes there in 2012 or 2013 but was turned away because he was found to be "weird" and overly eager for high-level weapons training at his age.

(Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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