Grieving mom of Oregon victim tells dad of survivor, 'Make sure that you hug your daughter every day of your life'

by Kelly Ledbetter, |
A woman takes part in a candlelight vigil for victims of the Umpqua Community College shooting, in Winston, Oregon, United States, October 3, 2015. | REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

ROSEBURG, Ore. (Christian Examiner) – At Umpqua Community College on Oct. 1, Lacey Scroggins, 18, was in the classroom where shooter Chris Harper-Mercer, 26, opened fire on his classmates. But while she was lying frozen on the ground, Lacey's classmate Treven Anspach, 20, fell on top of her, she believes to shield her from Harper-Mercer's attention.

"His blood saved my daughter's life," Pastor Randy Scroggins said in an interview with CBN News.

Treven died of his wounds, but those wounds helped Lacey survive. When the pastor picked his daughter up later that day, Treven's blood was on Lacey's clothes.

Scroggins has recounted his daughter's story, crediting Treven with heroism and praising Lacey for tending other shooting victims before leaving the classroom.

"'Daddy, all I knew to do was pray,'" Scroggins said his daughter told him.

"Here's what I do know: I know that I'm grateful," said Scroggins. "My daughter's alive. ... And I am grateful for the young man that I still believe is the reason that my daughter is alive."


Initially, Lacey thought the scene she was watching was a drill. When Harper-Mercer entered the classroom, shooting at the ceiling and telling everyone to get down, Lacey expected to hear the teacher telling everyone that they were just practicing.

But then she couldn't see the teacher anymore and witnessed Harper-Mercer shooting someone. "And his body dropped to the ground, and I realized this is not a drill any longer," Lacey said, according to her father.

Lying on the floor, Lacey heard the shooter tell someone to stand up. "You, in the orange shirt. Stand up. What religion are you? Are you a Christian?" he demanded.

The student answered yes. Lacey told her father, "I heard, Daddy, I heard a pop, and then the thud of a body that just hit the ground."

After shooting at least two other people, the shooter made his remaining classmates lie in the middle of the classroom. "We all crawled as quickly as we could to the center of the room," Lacey told her father. "And then he walked over, Daddy, and he began to shoot."

Treven, who had attended Sutherlin High School with Lacey, was among those Harper-Mercer shot. After he was wounded, he fell partially on top of Lacey. His blood stained her clothes, her skin, and the floor.

Harper-Mercer came to Lacey. "He stood over me and yelled, 'Get up! Get up!'" Lacey said. "But because of the weight of Treven's body on me, I felt frozen to the ground. And then he looked at the girl next to me who he had already shot, but she was still alive. And he said to her, 'Is she still alive?'"

The girl said she thought Lacey was dead. Then Harper-Mercer shot the girl, not Lacey. She lay there unmoving until she heard the police arrive and the sounds of Harper-Mercer appearing to shoot himself.

Then when she felt it was safe, she got up and tried to help the other victims. She used her scarf as a tourniquet on one student and advised others to keep pressure on their wounds.


Lacey, who wants to be a surgeon, was reunited with her parents. Scroggins, pastor at New Beginnings Church of God, has protected her while she is recovering from the trauma but has helped her share the story that Treven saved her life.

"We all believe with the last piece of effort that he [Treven] had, that he moved on top of her on purpose," Scroggins said. "We know beyond a shadow of any doubt that his blood on my daughter convinced the shooter that she was dead."

Lacey attended church the Sunday after the shooting. Her father says he is overwhelmed with pride in her and gratitude at her survival.

Scroggins called Treven's parents, reaching his mother on Saturday.

"It appeared to me that although she could not understand why, as no parent could, she was grateful to know that her son was a hero in many, many people's eyes," Scroggins said. "Treven will always be our hero."

Scroggins asked Treven's mother if there was anything he could do.

"Her response was so simple: 'Make sure that you hug your daughter every day of her life,'" Scroggins said the grieving mom told him. "A request that we will gladly do."