Chris Harper-Mercer, the Oregon gunman, coolly shot dead his nine victims after asking them to beg for mercy and ignoring their appeals to his heart, it has emerged, in the first full, detailed account of Thursday’s tragedy.
Pressed on whether his son’s mental state could be to blame for the violence, Mercer declined to comment, saying he wanted to let police follow through, but he left open the possibility that his son’s state of mind could have played a role.
According to the Associated Press – citing an unidentified law enforcement official – Chris Harper-Mercer also wrote in his multi-page manifesto something to the effect of: “Other people think I’m insane, but I’m not”. The official is familiar with the investigation but wasn’t authorized to speak publically because it is ongoing. The vigil was held in honor of the victims of the fatal shooting at Umpqua Community College on Thursday.
Scroggins spoke with Downing’s mother, Summer Smith, following the Sunday services at New Beginnings Church of God in Roseburg.
THE horrific ordeal suffered by the victims of a gunman who massacred nine people in a USA college bloodbath was revealed yesterday.
“He (Harper-Mercer) told everybody else to go to the middle of the room and lay down”, Bonnie Schaan told reporters outside a local hospital.
There have been conflicting accounts of Harper-Mercer’s words inside the classroom, and what he may have meant by them.
To the many people who had contacted her, offering support and commending her heroism, she hoped they were doing the same for her classmates.
Pastor Scroggins said his daughter escaped with her life because Treven Anspach, a fellow student, was lying on top of her, and his blood made the 18-year-old seem dead. She said she thought the horrors unfolding before her were staged as part of her creative writing class. Harper-Mercer commanded another young man to come forward, but this time, according to Scroggins, the shooter said, “You’re the lucky one”.
Officials have not released a motive.
“The medical examiner has determined the cause of the death of shooter to be suicide”, said Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin. Grief was the order of the day in Roseburg, a city of 22,000 in southwestern Oregon, even as new information emerged about the shooting.
The New York Times reported that Laurel Harper, 64, shared her son’s obsession with guns.
Oregon’s top federal prosecutor said the shooter used a handgun when he opened fire.
Over the past several years, Harper-Mercer’s mother reportedly posted on websites about the difficulties of having a son with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism.
When she visited gun ranges, she said, she would “cringe every time the “wannabes” show up”.
At a few point, Harper-Mercer, who identified himself as “mixed race” on a social networking site, appeared to have been sympathetic to the Irish Republican Army, a militant group that waged a violent campaign to drive the British from Northern Ireland.
“There’s been a lot of emotion”, he said.