Oregon college shooting: Gunman kills nine in Roseburg attack

Media captionHannah Miles: "We heard three or four more gun shots and everybody just looked at each other"

Nine people have been killed and seven injured in a shooting at a college in the US state of Oregon, say police.

The gunman, 26, opened fire at Umpqua Community College on Thursday morning and was killed in a police shootout.

There were conflicting reports on casualties but Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said 10 dead, including the gunman, was "the best" figure.

Police have not identified the attacker but unnamed officers have told US media his name is Chris Harper Mercer.

Mr Hanlin said he would not confirm the name, adding: "I will not give him the credit he probably sought prior to this horrific and cowardly act."


The gunman was reportedly born in the UK and moved to the US as a young boy.

A man identified as the gunman's father, Ian Mercer, told US media he was "just as shocked as everybody" by his son's actions.

The killer's motive is not known, although police said they were investigating reports that he had warned of his intentions on social media.

What we know about Chris Harper Mercer

Hours after the attack, in which seven were also injured, a visibly frustrated President Barack Obama demanded tighter gun laws, saying prayers are "no longer enough".

Media captionUS President Obama: "Somehow shootings have become routine"
Media captionThe gunman's father, Ian Mercer, spoke of his shock

Such shootings - and his own response - had become routine, he said, barely concealing his exasperation.

"We are not the only country on Earth that has people with mental illnesses or want to do harm to other people.

"But we are the only advanced country on Earth that sees these mass shootings every few months."

Referring to a BBC interview in which he talked about this, he said countries like the UK and Australia showed that effective legislation was possible.

Obama's 'hopeless' push for gun control

Media caption"The suspect is down" - exchange between the emergency services
Image copyright AP
Image caption Students were reunited with their families at a nearby fairground

Lorie Andrews, who lives opposite the campus, said she heard what sounded like fireworks and when she came out of her home she saw students streaming out.

"One girl came out wrapped in a blanket with blood on her," she said.

Hannah Miles, 19, said that she and fellow students were led to a nearby bookshop, where they hid in a back room.

"No-one really was sure what was going on," she said. "The next thing we knew, there were three or four more gun shots and everybody just looked at each other - and we knew."

Stacy Boylan, the father of a woman who survived the shooting, told CNN that his daughter had described how the gunman asked his victims to state their religion before opening fire.

According to Mr Boylan, his daughter said the gunman told the Christians he killed that they were about "going to see God in just about one second".

Another student who survived the shooting, Kortney Moore, gave a similar account to a local newspaper, The News-Review.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Police searched students and their bags after the shooting
Image copyright AP
Image caption More than 100 police officers responded to the scene of the shooting
Image copyright AP
Image caption Police said they killed the gunman
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A vigil was held in a Roseburg park on Thursday evening

The 3,000-student school is located in Roseburg, Oregon, a rural area about 175 miles (280 km) south of Portland.

Hundreds of people gathered for a vigil in a Roseburg park in the evening.

In audio from police radio channels an officer can be heard saying the suspect was down and that there were "multiple gunshot wounds", and calling for multiple ambulances to go the scene.

The suspect supposedly used a "long gun".

Students were transported by bus to a local fairground to be reunited with their loved ones.

According to Umpqua Community College's website, the average age of students is about 38.

Media captionThe BBC contrasts President Obama's reactions after mass shootings, with the levels of US gun ownership during his terms in office. (Video by David Botti)

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