Chris Harper Mercer, Oregon Gunman, Is Recalled as a Recluse Close to His Mother – New York Times
TORRANCE, Calif. — Chris Harper Mercer, the man identified as the gunman in the deadly rampage at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., on Thursday, was a withdrawn young man who neighbors said wore the same outfit every day — combat boots, green Army pants and a white T-shirt — and was close to his mother, who fiercely protected him.
Neighbors in Winchester, Ore., and Torrance, Calif., where Mr. Mercer, 26, lived with his mother, Laurel Harper, remember a reclusive and seemingly fragile young man with a shaved head and dark glasses who seemed to recoil from social interaction.
“He always seemed anxious,” said Rosario Lucumi, 51, who rode the same bus in Torrance as Mr. Mercer when she went to work. She said she believed he took it to El Camino College. “He always had earphones in, listening to music.”
“He and his mother were really close,” said Ms. Lucumi, who estimated that Mr. Mercer and his mother, who shared a small one-bedroom apartment in Torrance, lived there for less than a year. “They were always together.”
Video Family members of Chris Harper Mercer, who is suspected of shooting and killing 10 people on Thursday at a college in Oregon, described their shock at the events.
Bryan Clay, 18, said he once asked Mr. Mercer why he wore “a military get-up” every day.
“He kind of just didn’t want of talk about it” and changed the subject, Mr. Clay said.
“He didn’t say anything about himself,” he added.
Derrick McClendon, 42, another former neighbor, said that Mr. Mercer was so timid and ill at ease that on occasion he would ask him if something was wrong.
“I would say, ‘Hey, man, you all right?’ ” Mr. McClendon said. “He would say ‘hi,’ but that’s it. He was really shy.”
Mr. Mercer appeared to have sought community on the Internet. A picture of him holding a rifle appeared on a MySpace page with a post expressing a deep interest in the Irish Republican Army. It included footage from the conflict in Northern Ireland set to “The Men Behind the Wire,” an Irish republican song, and several pictures of gunmen in black balaclavas. Another picture showed the front page of An Phoblacht, the party newspaper of Sinn …Read More