Fox News: Witnesses Say Oregon Gunman Targeted Christians Shooting

Originally posted at Fox News.

Authorities Friday released the names of those killed in the mass murder at an Oregon community college, a collection of male and female victims ranging in age from 18 to 67 and including a professor as well as some of his students in an introductory writing class.

At a late afternoon press conference, Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin intoned the names as aides posted their pictures on a wall behind him.

They were: Lucero Alcaraz, 19, Quinn Glen Cooper, 18, Kim Saltmarsh Dietz, 59, Lucas Eibel,18, Jason Dale Johnson, 33, Lawrence Levine, 67, Sarena Dawn Moore, 44, Treven Taylor Anspach, 20, and Rebecka Ann Carnes, 18.

Statements were read from several families.

“We have been trying to figure out how to tell everyone how amazing Lucas was, but that would take 18 years,” the family of Lucas Eibel said in their statement.

Eibel, who was studying chemistry, volunteered at a wildlife center and animal shelter.

Quinn Glen Cooper’s family said their son had just started college and loved dancing and voice acting.

“I don’t know how we are going to move forward with our lives without Quinn,” the Coopers said. “Our lives are shattered beyond repair.”

Hanlin also said he was raising the number of those injured in the carnage at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore. from seven to nine.

The announcement came shortly after investigators found at least 13 weapons linked to the gunman: six at the crime scene, including a rifle, and seven at his apartment.

All of the weapons were purchased legally, seven of them by the gunman or a relative, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It reports that investigators recovered body armor including a flak jacket at the school, and additional ammunition in the apartment.

In addition to the rifle, the shooter also carried five handguns, a law enforcement source tells Fox News.

Details on the shooter’s background are slowly emerging. The U.S. Army says the gunman, Christopher Harper Mercer, flunked out of basic training in 2008.

Lt. Col. Ben Garrett, an Army spokesman, said Mercer was in service at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, starting on November 5, 2008. But by December 11, 2008, he was discharged for failing to meet the minimum administrative standards.

The Army spokesman did not say which standards Mercer failed to meet. Generally, the Army requires recruits to pass physical fitness tests and to be generally in good physical and mental health. Recruits also must score highly enough on a multiple-choice test covering science, math, reading comprehension and other topics.

Authorities say Mercer killed nine people at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg before he was killed in an exchange of gunfire with police. Witnesses said the gunman specifically targeted Christians.

There didn’t seem to be many recent connections on the social media sites linked to the gunman, with his MySpace page just showing two friends. He appeared to have at least one online dating profile.

On a torrents streaming site and blog that appeared to belong to Mercer, posts referenced multiple shootings and downloads included several horror films and a documentary on a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

A blog post urged readers to watch the online footage of Vester Flanagan shooting two former colleagues on live TV in Virginia, while another lamented materialism as preventing spiritual development.

A MySpace page that appeared to belong to Mercer included several photos and graphics of the Irish Republican Army as well as a picture of Mercer holding a rifle.

One law enforcement official described Mercer to The New York Times as appearing to be “an angry young man who was very filled with hate.” Another official said investigators were poring over what he described as “hateful” writings by Mercer.

Mercer’s father says he’s as shocked as anybody else. Ian Mercer spoke to KABC-TV and several other media outlets gathered outside his house in Tarzana, California late Thursday night.

He said it’s been a “devastating day” for him and his family and said he has been talking to police and the FBI about the shooting.

He refused to answer questions and asked that his family’s privacy be respected.

Mercer “seemed really unfriendly” and would “sit by himself in the dark in the balcony with this little light,” according to neighbor Bronte Harte, speaking to the Associated Press.

The New York Post identified the dating site as SpiritualPassions.com and reported that Mercer used the screen name “Ironcross45,” a possible reference to a WWII decoration awarded to Nazi soldiers.

The shooting sparked panic at the usually quiet college, more than 70 miles south of Eugene. Some students ran for their lives, while others crammed into buses taking them to safety.

Two people remain in critical condition in the ICU at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Springfield, Oregon. Doctors there say one victim was shot in the head.

One other victim is in critical condition at Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg, according to chief medical officer Dr. Jason Gray.He said his hospital initially received 10 patients.

Twitter user @bodhilooney posted a statement on the social network claiming that her grandmother was inside the classroom.

Hundreds went to a candlelight vigil Thursday night, with many raising candles as the hymn “Amazing Grace” was played.

Former student Sam Sherman said Roseburg was a “poor town, a mill town.” Oregon’s timber industry went into a tailspin 25 years ago.

“People don’t generally aspire to greater things here,” he said. “So having a place you can go to do that is a big deal. For something that terrible to happen at such a small school is frustrating.”

Read more at at Fox News.

 

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9 Comments

  • minimom says:

    October 3, 2015 at 12:17 PM

    We should all make a pact never to speak of the shooter. Never mention his name, his motive or any other information about him. These sickos just want the notoriety.

  • Tom says:

    October 3, 2015 at 1:59 PM

    I am not surprised Obama hasn’t chimed in on this. He is as gutless as the shooter killing innocents was. A REAL leader doesn’t blame society or the gun, but instead puts the blame on the criminal ego commits the crime. I sincerely doubt Obama or the White House will attend these funerals – no young black criminals killed, just plain, normal Americans trying to get their lives going.

  • Tea Lady Elaine says:

    October 3, 2015 at 2:11 PM

    There’s a lot more to this story. This is Islamic terrorism.

    • joe says:

      October 4, 2015 at 8:54 AM

      And you know this from reading tea leaves? or could it be he was mentally ill and had no hope?
      That he needed treatment but know one seemed to notice or cared enough to do anything about it.

  • Mjd says:

    October 3, 2015 at 4:06 PM

    This crap in insane! Someone needs to beat the crap out of OBAMA and/or the ones that CAN do something about OBAMA but isn’t doing anything!

    AMERICA, do you all notice when there are numerous murders in Chicago, you don’t hear anything from OBAMA, BUT when this happens in Oregon or like Roanoke, VA. ALL HE MENTIONS IS GUN CONTROL.

    THE MAN IS A INSANE EVIL MAN!

    Do something Congress, Justice Department or military NOW!

  • Kris Schroder says:

    October 3, 2015 at 5:22 PM

    Funny the Media never mention that He had just Recently Converted to Islam!!!

  • cynthia fedorczyk says:

    October 3, 2015 at 8:45 PM

    He was unstable to begin with and many red flags must have come up to see he was planning this. This should have never happened .

  • BigD says:

    October 4, 2015 at 8:12 PM

    He’d have a lot to say if they were muslims that coward a** b****!

  • Max says:

    October 5, 2015 at 1:11 PM

    Interesting that this article uses the same kind of “Whitewashed” photo of the shooter that CNN is using. The shooter is bi-racial, his mother is a black woman. All the photos the news articles are showing are actually re-coloring him white,sizing his nostrils down and removing several prominent moles on his face. Also- anyone with any knowledge at all of the US military is aware that the required ASVAB testing- verbal,reading,comprehension etc, mental and physical testing is all done ahead of time-at MEPPS. Anyone going into basic training has already met these standards.