By Joseph Hoyt, Mark Berman and Jerry Markon,
ROSEBURG, Ore. — A rural community college became the site of America’s latest mass shooting on Thursday as a lone gunman burst into classrooms during the school day and mowed down terrified students before being shot dead in a firefight with police, authorities said.
Officials said nine people were killed, plus the gunman, and seven injured during the traumatic events at Umpqua Community College, about three hours south of Portland.
The gunman was described as a 20-year-old man wearing a dark shirt and jeans who spewed bullets from what appeared to be three pistols and possibly a semiautomatic rifle.
Students told of hiding between desks and huddling in darkness as the shooter methodically sought out his victims. Some military-veteran students guarded the doors, which did not lock, in case the shooter tried to enter.
“There’s a shooter! Run! Run! Get out of there!” groups of students screamed as they ran out of Snyder Hall, where the rampage apparently started, according to Kenneth Ungerman, 25, a student at the college. Ungerman and a National Guard recruiter “got underneath my Jeep, rolled on top and took off,” he said.
Jasmyne Davis, 19, was in class when the gunfire began. She said she heard one gunshot, followed by a 30-second pause, an argument and eight more shots from the classroom next door. “Close the door!” yelled a female classmate who ran out of the classroom, was shot in the arm and fell back into the room.
[The worst school shootings in American history]
As authorities frantically tried to secure the campus and sort out what happened, they initially provided conflicting accounts of casualties. Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin clarified at an afternoon news conference that 10 people had been killed and seven injured, with the gunman killed in an exchange of fire with police. It was unclear whether the gunman was counted as one of the 10 people who had died. Hanlin said authorities would not identify the victims for at least a day, possibly two.
Hanlin said the man had not been identified and that authorities were not ready to release any information about a possible motive. The News-Review newspaper in Douglas County quoted a student as saying the gunman had asked people their religion before opening fire.
The rampage was the latest in a series of mass …Read More