The fourth day of school had barely begun when bullets tore into the classrooms of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., adding that tranquil timber town to the grim roster of places whose histories are now permanently cast in terms of “before” and “after.”
Officials said that nine victims were killed, plus the gunman, and seven injured during the mass shooting, the 294th in the United States this year.
The names of those killed and wounded were not yet released nor would Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin name the shooter publicly, more out of rage than discretion. “I will not name the shooter,” he said at a news conference Thursday night. “I will not give him credit for this horrific act of cowardice. Media will get the name confirmed in time … but you will never hear us use it.”

Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin says he won’t name the man who shot and killed nine people on a community college campus on Oct. 1, so to “not give him the credit he probably sought.” The gunman, identified by an anonymous official as Chris Harper Mercer, was also killed. (Associated Press)

The transition from the anonymity of “before” to the notoriety of “after” took just about 10 terrifying minutes, during which the alleged shooter — identified by a U.S. law enforcement official as Chris Harper Mercer — strode through a school building armed with three pistols and a semiautomatic rifle. Clad in a dark shirt and jeans, driven by a motive that’s still unknown, he methodically spewed bullets into classrooms full of students, who hid behind desks and desperately tried to block doors that didn’t lock.
In one classroom, he appeared to single out Christian students for killing, according to witness Anastasia Boylan.
“He said, ‘Good, because you’re a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second,’” Boylan’s father, Stacy, told CNN, relaying his daughter’s account while she underwent surgery to treat a gunshot to her spine.
“And then he shot and killed them.”
Another account came from Autumn Vican, who described to NBC News what her brother J.J. witnessed in the …Read More