Nine killed in Oregon school shooting mourned, remembered

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ROSEBURG, Ore. —

As the City of Roseburg remembers the nine victims who died in the Umpqua Community College shooting on Thursday, investigators are learning more about the events that unfolded -- leading up to shots fired in a classroom.


Quick Facts:

  • 10 people dead, including gunman
  • 9 others injured
  • 6 weapons, flak jacket found at college, 7 weapons at Mercer's home
  • All weapons purchased legally
  • Motive not yet known
  • 26-year-old Christopher Harper Mercer identified as gunman
  • Tip line:  1-800-CALL-FBI

Victims identified

In a news conference on Friday afternoon, Douglas County Sheriff identified the nine victims who died. Read in detail about each one in this story.

  • Lucero Alcaraz, 19 years old
  • Quinn Glen Cooper, 18 years old
  • Lucas Eibel, 18 years old
  • Kim Saltmarsh Dietz, 59 years old
  • Jason Dale Johnson, 33 years old
  • Lawrence Levine, 67 years old
  • Sarena Dawn Moore, 44 years old
  • Treven Taylor, 20 years old
  • Rebecka Ann Carnes, 18 years old

The Douglas County Sheriff updated his number of those injured in the shooting to nine.

The attack shattered the first week of classes in the small town of Roseburg. The college, which is closed, hopes to open early next week.

Hanlin urged anyone who has tips, photos or videos that could help the investigation to call  1-800-CALL-FBI and choose option 7.

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Gunman kicked out of Army

The gunman, 26-year-old Christopher Harper Mercer, opened fire inside a classroom, killing nine people before committing suicide, authorities said. Read more about Mercer here.

Chris Harper Mercer enlisted in the Army in Nov. 2011, but he was out by Decemeber.

"A review of Army records indicate that Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer was in service at Ft Jackson, S.C, from 5 November-11 December 2008,  but discharged for failing to meet the minimum administrative standards to serve in the U.S. Army," Army Public Affairs wrote.

According to KOIN News, Mercer was a student at UCC; he was enrolled in the class where the shooting took place.

On Saturday, police said the shooter killed himself.

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Several guns recovered

At a news conference Friday morning, Douglas County, Ore. Sheriff John Hanlin said teams of investigators and victim specialists were working with families, helping to facilitate next-of-kin notifications and providing counseling resources.

“The families are currently living through the nightmare in the most personal way possible,” Hanlin said, asking for the media to respect their privacy.

He then introduced FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Celinez Nunez.  

"We have recovered a total of 13 weapons that are connected to the shooter and/or the shooter’s residence," said Nunez.  

Six guns -- five pistols and a rifle -- were found at the college.   Of the seven that were found at his home, there were two pistols, four rifles and one shotgun.  Investigators also recovered a significant amount of ammunition there.

On Saturday, police said they had recovered another gun -- bringing the total number of guns seized to 14.

A flak jacket containing steel plates as well as five magazines of ammunition was recovered lying next to one of the rifles inside the school.

Nunez said all the weapons had been purchased legally. Some were purchased by the gunman, and others by his family members.

Motive for rampage

Police have blocked off Mercer's apartment four miles north of the college in Roseburg. The search may reveal why he went on the rampage.

The father of an injured student, who spoke with reporters outside a hospital, said Mercer was targeting students based on their religion.

“This man had enough time to ask people, one by one, what their religion was – ‘Are you a Christian?’ he would ask them.  Then (he said) ‘Stand up’ and they would stand up and he said, ‘Good, because you're a Christian you're going to see God in about one second,’ and then he shot and killed them,” said Stacy Boylan.

Similar accounts have been reported, but Boylan’s account has not been corroborated by police.

Gunman’s father reacts

The gunman's father said the only word to describe his emotions following the shootings is 'shock.'

“I am just as shocked as anybody at what happened. Obviously, it’s been a devastating day for me and my family,” Ian Mercer said as he spoke to reporters briefly Thursday night outside of his Los Angeles area home.

He said he is speaking to the FBI, but asked for privacy for his family.

Active shooter tactics

Meanwhile, officials say the actions of officers likely saved lives. 

Police employed a tactic to help get paramedics to victims much quicker. They brought rescuers into what they call a "warm zone" -- an unsecured area during a shooting.

The idea is to first get victims medical treatment and then get them out of the building, as soon as they can.

Officials have not said exactly how the shooter interacted with the victims as he fired, but one active shooter expert, Jesus Villahermosa, says the best thing you can do is lock yourself down in a room.

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But Villahermosa says too many students are taught to duck and cover, no matter where they are.

“Lockdown is the number one tactic that saves the greatest amount of lives. But if you’re near the shooter, the next tactic is run,” said Villahermosa.

Villahermosa says duck and cover only works if you're in a locked room. If you're in the same room as the shooter, you either need to run or fight, according to Villahermosa.

Villahermosa recently taught the survivor tactic to 6,000 students in the Olympia School District.

Several local districts, including Issaquah, have adopted the FBI's "run- hide- fight" strategy.

Thousands attend vigil

Thursday night, thousands of people packed a Roseburg park for a vigil to remember the victims. Read the story here.

One of the students who was at the school at the time of the shooting said her boyfriend saved her life when she froze. He helped her jump over a cliff to escape.

“It was horrible. I was hyperventilating. I could barely move my legs. He had to drag me around, basically,” said UCC student Angel Ardito.

The president of the college told the crowd that counselors will be available all weekend at the college.

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