Students return to Oregon community college after shooting

Classes Resume at Umpqua Community College After Shootings


ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) -- Hundreds of people lined the road leading to the Oregon community college where a gunman killed nine people, holding signs reading "UCC Strong" as students returned Monday to the scene of the deadliest shooting in state history.

The Umpqua Community College campus in the small town of Roseburg reopened last week, but students are heading back to class for the first time since the Oct. 1 shooting, which also wounded nine people.

SEE MORE:Officials say Oregon shooter handed hate-filled writings to survivor

Residents waving American flags and signs greeted students driving into campus. Volunteers and dogs came to offer comfort, and tissues were available in every classroom. State troopers and sheriff's deputies patrolled the grounds.

See images from the memorial services:

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Oregon school shooting vigils, Umpqua Community College
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Students return to Oregon community college after shooting
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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Oregon Gov. Kate Brown joined interim college President Rita Cavin and student body president Tony Terra in welcoming students who returned for morning classes.

"There was a lot of hugs and a lot of tears," the governor told reporters. "We are here to help students rebuild their lives."

The gunman, Christopher Harper-Mercer, 26, shot his victims in a classroom in Snyder Hall before exchanging fire with police and then killing himself. Administrators have not started talking about what will happen to Snyder Hall, which is still closed, Cavin said.

It's also too soon to say how security at the college might change, she said. Campus police are not armed in this conservative town where residents commonly own and carry guns. The shooting has led to calls for more gun restrictions to reduce the bloodshed, while others here and across the country contend that the answer is more people being armed.

SEE ALSO:Man gets weapon charge in fatal shooting of Memphis officer

The campus was closed to the media for much of the day. Despite that, many students skipped class Monday because they didn't want to confront reporters, Cavin said.

"We're hoping they understand this level of press activity is going to diminish really quickly, and it will feel safer to come back," Cavin said. "Some of them are just holding back and waiting for the campus to look like the campus they left."

Supporters started lining the street before dawn. Workers from AAA Sweep, a Roseburg parking-lot sweeping company, arrived at 5:30 a.m., even though some of them didn't get off work until 2 a.m.

"UCC touches everybody in this community in some way," company owner Carl Bird told The Register-Guard newspaper. "You've got displaced workers that come here, you've got kids out of high school coming here, I've hired people from here.

"And they all put back in the community when they graduate," he said. "So it's just something that I felt we should support."

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