Survivors report college gunman singled out Christians, shooting them in the head

by Joni B. Hannigan, Editorial Staff |
Umpqua Community College alumnus Donice Smith (L) is embraced after she said one of her former teachers was shot dead, near the site of a mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg,Oregon October 1, 2015. Chris Harper-Mercer, 26, opened fire at a community college in southern Oregon on Thursday, killing 13 people and wounding some 20 others before he was shot to death by police, state and county officials said, in the latest mass killing to rock a U.S. school. There were conflicting reports on the number of dead and wounded in the shooting rampage in Roseburg, which began shortly after 10:30 a.m. local time (1730 GMT). | REUTERS/Steve Dipaola

ROSEBURG, Ore. (Christian Examiner) – Shooting Christians in the head and others in the legs, a gunman who killed 10 and injured more than 20 people at an Oregon community college today was obviously singling out Christians, survivors told reporters.

"The shooter was lining people up and asking if they were Christian," tweeted a young woman @BodhiLooney who said her grandmother was in the room with the shooter. "If they said yes, then they were shot in the head. If they said no, or didn't answer, they were shot in the legs. My grandma just got to my house, and she was in the room. She wasn't shot, but she is very upset."

Two hours before her first message, the young woman had tweeted that it was her grandmother's first day back at Umpqua Community College "and she's not answering her phone."

Kortney Moore, 18, told the New York Times she was in a writing class when she heard a bullet come through the window and watched as the shooter killed her teacher with a single bullet to the head.

After that the shooter first ordered the class to the ground, Moore said, and then he told them to get up and say what religion they were.

Then the shooting began and panic ensued, she told the News Review, while the killer, a student at the school, according to the governor, selectively shot in the head those who confessed to being Christian.

CBS News confirmed the shooter is 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer who is said be from Torrance, California.

A My Space social media profile is online for Harper-Mercer, which shows two friends, migrating from an older account in February, 2014. In the profile, Harper-Mercer demonstrates an interest in the Irish Republican Army (IRA), and has a connection with a young man with a Muslim name who posted photos of terrorists in Afghanistan holding rifles. 


Oregon lawmakers are pledging prayer for the victims and families, according to news reports.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Harper-Mercer was killed when he exchanged fire with officers responding to the scene.

As the news spread, lawmakers responded.

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley tweeted: "Horrific news from Umpqua Community College in Roseburg. My heart and prayers are with the victims and their families."

Ron Wyden, the states senior senator, tweeted: "Oregonians everywhere want Roseburg to know we're praying for them."

President Obama responded explosively in White House briefing, taking the opportunity to talk about a need for gun control laws.

"We are the only country on earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every two months," he said in a briefing.

"Our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It's not enough. It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel, and it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America -- next week, or a couple months from now," Obama said, according to CNN.

News reports vary on the number of those injured, but several are said to be in critical condition. Four guns, including an AR-style rifle has been found at the scene, and law enforcement is investigating messages and social media the suspect was engaged in prior to his deadly rampage.

The photos on the MySpace page of Chris Harper-Mercer, shooter at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon where he shot to death 10 people before he was killed in a shootout with law enforcement Oct. 1, 2015. | My Space/SCREEN CAPTURE