Gunman kills 9 at Oregon college, dies in shootout with police

Who Was Chris Harper Mercer?

A gunman stalked onto an Oregon college campus on Thursday and opened fire, killing nine people and wounding seven before police shot him to death, authorities said, in yet another burst of U.S. gun violence that ranked as the deadliest this year.

The suspect, who witnesses say fired dozens of shots in a classroom full of screaming students, was slain in an exchange of gunfire with two police officers in Snyder Hall at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, ending the morning rampage.

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The gunman was not publicly identified by local authorities. A law enforcement source named him as Chris Harper-Mercer. Other media said he was 26.

In a photo posted on a MySpace profile believed to be his, a young man with a shaved head and dark-rimmed eyeglasses is seen staring into the camera while holding a rifle.

See photos of the gunman and scenes from the shooting:

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Gunman kills 9 at Oregon college, dies in shootout with police

Chris Harper-Mercer, 26

Photo via Myspace 

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CNN reported the suspect was armed with three handguns, a "long gun" and body armor. According to survivors, the gunman at one point ordered cowering students to stand up and state their religion before shooting them one by one.

Stacy Boylan, the father of an 18-year-old student who was wounded but survived by playing dead, told CNN his daughter recounted her professor being shot point blank as the assailant stormed into the classroom.

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Oregon Governor: 'This Community Reels From Grief'

"He was able to stand there and start asking people one by one what their religion was," Boylan said, relating the ordeal as described by his daughter. "'Are you a Christian?' he would ask them. ... 'If you're a Christian, stand up. Good. Because you're a Christian, you're going to see God in just about one second,' and he shot and killed them. And he kept going down the line doing this to people."

Another student, Kortney Moore, 18, who was present in the writing class when the gunman entered and survived unhurt, gave a similar account to the local News Review newspaper.

See social reactions to the shooting (WARNING: Some may contain strong language):

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Oregon school shooting, UCC, social reactions
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Gunman kills 9 at Oregon college, dies in shootout with police
Terrible news coming out of Roseburg. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and the community.
On a plane and learning about the heinous shooting in Oregon. A community’s heart has been tested but will not be broken. #UCCShooting
Was boarding a plane as I learned about the horrific shooting in Oregon. Thoughts and prayers are w/the Roseburg community. #UCCShooting
My thoughts are with the families and victims of today's tragedy.
Prayers for those in Oregon dealing w/ yet another mass shooting... 😔
My heart is with those who lost so much today in Oregon. -O’M
Another senseless tragedy with more innocent people killed. Our hearts go out to the families. -B
My heart goes out to all affected by #Umpqua shooting. How many gunshots before legislators start listening? #GunReform #UCCShooting
Praying for those affected by the shooting at Umpqua community college today. I'll be keeping you all in my thoughts.
Can't wrap my head around the fact that one of my best friends since birth was the only person in the whole class not shot.
I am completely devastated! My heart goes out to my hometown and college #UmpquaCommunityCollege Pray for #Roseburg! https://t.co/SSml4AjK2I
Another tragic shooting. This one hits home being from Roseburg. Spent a lot of time on UCC campus as a kid. 🙏 https://t.co/9NerF6sCPA
So stunned & angry about yet another mass shooting, this time on a college campus in Oregon. We pray for the victims & their families.
Stunned by reports of a shooting in my home state of OR. My thoughts & prayers are w/ UCC as we struggle to cope w/ this tragedy.
My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of today's tragic shooting in Roseburg: https://t.co/O4lF8YcnVy
Sick to my stomach man. My next class was at snyder, can't even process all this.
#UCCShooting leaves us w/ a profound sense of loss. We should work in whatever ways we can to prevent these acts of violence in the future
Active shooter reported at Umpqua Community College. One person reported shot.
Students are running everywhere. Holy God.
Oregon shooter brought down. Multiple rescue units requested. First reports 20 victims.
My heart is broken. 💔 praying for our little community today. 🙏🏼
If something happens to my mom rn at ucc I will go to prison
My mom works at UCC and my brother goes to school there. This is so fucking scary
Literally bawling my eyes out & can't calm down
I feel so sick & can't stop shaking. This is unreal
My grandparents, aunt and uncle live across the street from UCC. This is unreal.
Scariest thing I've ever experienced...
I was getting ready to get out of my car to go to class and my papa stopped me and told me to get the f*ck off campus
Heartbroken. Again. #prayersforUmpqua
Authorities check bags as students and staff are moved off campus at Umpqua Community College after shooting report. https://t.co/BvvHh0UYqN
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'HORRIFIC AND COWARDLY ACT'

Authorities offered no explanation for the gunman's actions.

"The law enforcement investigation into the shooter and into his motivations is ongoing," Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said at an afternoon news conference. He also said three of the wounded victims were hospitalized in critical condition.

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Hanlin refused to name the gunman. "I will not give him the credit he probably sought via his horrific and cowardly act," he told reporters.

The massacre in Roseburg, a former timber town on the western edge of the Cascades some 260 miles (420 km) south of Portland, was the latest in a flurry of lethal U.S. mass shootings in recent years.

Thursday's was the deadliest this year, surpassing the nine killed in a gun battle between motorcycle gangs in Waco, Texas, in May, and the nine who died in the rampage of a gunman at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina in June.

Not counting Thursday's incident, 293 mass shootings have been reported this year, according to the Mass Shooting Tracker website, a crowd-sourced database kept by anti-gun activists that logs events in which four or more people are shot.

The violence has fueled demands for more gun control in the United States, where ownership of firearms is protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and better care for the mentally ill.

President Barack Obama, speaking just hours after the rampage, said the mass killings should move Americans to demand greater gun controls from elected officials.

"Somehow this has become routine," a visibly angry Obama said. "The reporting is routine. My response here, at this podium, ends up being routine. ... We've become numb to this."

GUNSHOTS AND SCREAMS

For students at Umpqua College and the town of Roseburg, Thursday's violence was anything but routine.

Freshman Kenny Ungerman told NBC he saw the shooter, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, carrying a handgun as he went into the building, followed by gunshots and screams. Student Cassandra Welding told CNN that she heard 35 to 40 shots.

Student Brady Winder, in a posting on Facebook, said he was in a classroom next door and ran when he heard the gunfire.

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"I ran to the edge of the campus, down a hill and waited. From talking with a student in the classroom where it happen, almost every person in the room was shot by a man with four guns," Winder, 23, wrote.

See photos from the vigils held for the Oregon shooting victims:

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Oregon school shooting vigils, Umpqua Community College
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Gunman kills 9 at Oregon college, dies in shootout with police
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)
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)
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)
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)
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Survivors were transported to a local fairground by bus, and some family members were left waiting for hours to see if their loved ones would be among them.

"We have grief counselors waiting for those parents who have no children getting off that bus," said the college's president, Rita Calvin.

State and federal authorities swarmed over Roseburg, with police descending on an apartment of the presumed suspect about 2 miles (3 km) from campus, where neighbors said they recognized him from photos posted on social media, but they had little to say about him.

A man identifying himself as Ian Mercer, the gunman's father, spoke briefly to a throng of media outside his home in Los Angeles Thursday night.

"It's been a devastating day, devastating for me and my family," he said, according to a transcript of his remarks provided by local broadcaster KNBC-TV.

Umpqua Community College, which began its fall term this week and serves more than 13,000 students - 3,000 of them enrolled full time - said it would be closed until Monday.

At nightfall, scores of people attended a candlelight vigil at a municipal park, where a lone trumpeter played strains of "Amazing Grace."

The Roseburg shooting ranks among the bloodiest on U.S. school campuses, which have become frequent targets for such violence.

It was the deadliest at an institution of higher education since April 2007, when a student at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg killed 32 people and wounded 25 before taking his own life.

RELATED: See the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history

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Gunman kills 9 at Oregon college, dies in shootout with police
TOPSHOT - Mourners hold up signs during a vigil in Washington, DC on June 12, 2016, in reaction to the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Fifty people died when a gunman allegedly inspired by the Islamic State group opened fire inside a gay nightclub in Florida, in the worst terror attack on US soil since September 11, 2001. / AFP / Andrew Caballero-Reynolds (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 12: FBI agents investigate near the damaged rear wall of the Pulse Nightclub where Omar Mateen allegedly killed at least 50 people on June 12, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. The mass shooting killed at least 50 people and injuring 53 others in what is the deadliest mass shooting in the countryÃs history. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 12: A guest holds a sign remembering the Orlando Massacre at the LA PRIDE Music Festival and Parade 2016 on June 10, 2016 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/WireImage)
BLACKSBURG, VA - APRIL 17: Thousands of people attend a candlelight vigil on the campus of Virginia Tech April 17, 2007 in Blacksburg, Virginia. According to police, English major Cho Seung-Hui, 23, a native of South Korea, went on a shooting rampage that left a total of 33 people dead. It was the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
LITTLETON, CO - APRIL 20: (VIDEO CAPTURE) Columbine high school shooters Eric Harris (L) and Dylan Klebold appear in this video capture of a surveillance tape released by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department in the cafeteria at Columbine High School April 20, 1999 in Littleton, CO during their shooting spree which killed 13 people. (Photo courtesy of Jefferson County Sheriff's Department via Getty Images)

Fort Hood, Texas, 13 killed

KILLEEN, TX - NOVEMBER 5: Sgt. Fanuaee Vea embraces Pvt. Savannah Green while trying to reach friends and family outside Fort Hood on November 5, 2009 in Killeen, Texas. At least one gunman killed 12 people and injured 31 in a shooting on a military base at Fort Hood this afternoon. One shooter was killed by military police and at least two other soldiers are in custody. (Photo by Ben Sklar/Getty Images)

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