In one of the deadliest of a series of school shootings that have become violently familiar across the U.S., a gunman opened fire at a community college in southwestern Oregon on Thursday morning, killing at least nine and injuring seven others before dying in a shootout with police.The massacre at Umpqua Community College in this rural lumber town began when the assailant, armed with three handguns and an assault rifle, stormed Snyder Hall and started firing, asking students about their religion as he attacked.
A series of frantic police recordings, punctuated with the scream of sirens, narrated the terrifying scene at the two-year college, about 180 miles south of Portland, where the school year had just begun Monday. The chaos was apparent as ambulances were called and victims were tallied.A dispatcher could be heard saying the gunman was “outside one of the doors, shooting through the doors” in the hall, with 35 people inside.Several minutes later, an officer is heard describing a gun battle with the assailant. “The suspect is down,” someone shouted, while another officer called in for “as many ambulances as possible.”————FOR THE RECORD:Oregon shooting: This article originally reported the name of the gunman’s father as Ian Harper. His name is Ian Mercer. ————The gunman was identified by a law enforcement official as Chris Harper Mercer, a resident of Oregon. Mercer, 26, formerly lived with his mother in Torrance before moving to Oregon. His father, Ian Mercer, lives in Tarzana.”Shocked is all I can say,” Mercer told reporters Thursday night. “It’s been a devastating day.”Mercer is not believed to be connected to the college at this time, the law enforcement source said, either as a student or staff member. The gunman’s motive “is not immediately clear,” he said.Oregon authorities have provided no details about the suspect. In a brief evening news conference, Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said the gunman’s official identification would come from the medical examiner’s office.Hanlin was vehement in his resolve never to say the shooter’s name – a stance that has grown increasingly common among those touched by mass shootings.“Let me be very clear,” the sheriff said before heading to a vigil for the victims. “I will not name the shooter. I will not give him the …Read More