Oregon Mass Shooter Lived in SoCal, Sympathized With Irish Republican Army
UPDATE at 2:50 p.m., Friday, Oct. 2: Victims have been identified, below.
Oregon mass shooter Chris Harper-Mercer lived in Southern California, according to multiple reports.
His MySpace page lists his base as Torrance, and the Daily Breeze says he attended Switzer Learning Center in Torrance in 2009 and that he lived with his mom at a Torrance apartment from 2011 to 2013.
Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said 10 people were killed and
seven nine were injured when a gunman opened fire at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, about 10:38 a.m. today. It appears the assailant was fatally shot by first responders.
Hanlin would not utter Harper-Mercer's name and he urged reporters to "avoid using it, repeating it or engaging in any glorification and sensationalization of him."
The shooting inspired President Obama to address gun control in an impassioned address today:
It cannot be this easy for somebody who wants to inflict harm on other people to get his or her hands on a gun.
And what’s become routine, of course, is the response of those who oppose any kind of common-sense gun legislation. Right now, I can imagine the press releases being cranked out: We need more guns, they’ll argue. Fewer gun safety laws.
The shooter was reported to have been in possession of three handguns and a rifle when he opened fire. Harper-Mercer was said to have been dressed in camouflage-style fatigues and military-style boots.
Witnesses said he asked victims to name their religion before he shot them. In one case an instructor was shot in the head in front of horrified students, according to an account from the Roseburg News-Review, which is based near that campus:
Kortney Moore, 18, from Rogue River, was in her Writing 115 class in Snyder Hall when one shot came through a window. She saw her teacher get shot in the head. The shooter was inside at that point, and he told people to get on the ground. The shooter was asking people to stand up and state their religion and then started firing away, Moore said. Moore was lying there with people who had been shot.
Stacy Boylan, father of a witness, described to reporters what his daughter relayed about the experience:
"This man had enough time ... before he was able to stand there and start asking people one by one what their religion was," he said. "'If you're a Christian, stand up' ... and then he shot and killed them."
A man identified as the shooter's father, Ian Mercer, addressed reporters tonight outside his home in Tarzana. He repeated that he was "shocked" by the news and said:
I've just been talking to the police and the FBI. I can't answer any questions right now. Obviously it's been a very devastating day, devastating for me and my family.
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller confirmed to us tonight that "L.A.-based agents are assisting Oregon by covering leads generated for Southern California."
Harper-Mercer's MySpace page shows him posing with a long gun. The account holder also posted photos of masked gunmen and expressed praise for the outlaw Irish Republican Army, which has long fought for independence from the British government.
He reportedly twice expressed interest in horrific shootings, including the Newtown massacre and the live-on-TV killing of a Virginia news crew, via online postings.
A dating profile that uses the same name and likeness as the MySpace page describes Harper-Mercer as an L.A. resident who lives with his parents and is a "lover, conservative, professional, intellectual, introvert" who is "not religious, but spiritual."
The profile says he's a non–drug user who lifts weights and likes industrial and punk rock music. It stated that he hasn't been active on the site for at least three months.
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Some of the first sheriff's deputies at the scene of today's shooting apparently took out Harper-Mercer in a gun battle.
"We have at least two heroic officers who responded into the building within minutes and exchanged gunfire with the shooter," Hanlin said.
UPDATE at 2:50 p.m., Friday, Oct. 2: The Douglas County Sheriff's Department in Oregon today identified the dead.
The department says nine people were fatally shot by the assailant. The total of 10 dead includes him. Nine others were hospitalized, sheriff's officials said.
The deceased :
Lucero Alcaraz, 19, of Roseburg, Oregon.
Quinn Glen Cooper, 18, of Roseburg.
Kim Saltmarsh Dietz, 59, of Roseburg.
Lucas Eibel, 18, of Roseburg.
Jason Dale Johnson, 33, of Winston, Oregon.
Lawrence Levine, 67, an instructor from Glide, Oregon.
Serena Dawn Moore, 44, of Myrtle Creek, Oregon.
Treven Taylor Anspach, 20, of Sutherlin, Oregon.
Rebecka Ann Carnes, 18, of Myrtle Creek.
-With reporting from City News Service
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