Amer­i­can col­lege shooter had ar­se­nal of weapons

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY VERONIQUE DUPONT

The 26-year-old be­hind Amer­ica’s latest mass shoot­ing at a col­lege in ru­ral Ore­gon ap­pears to have been a gun en­thu­si­ast who hoarded an ar­se­nal of weapons and was ob­sessed with re­li­gion.

Though author­i­ties have yet to for­mally name him, the gun­man be­hind the mur­der of nine peo­ple at Um­pqua Com­mu­nity Col­lege in Rose­burg has been widely iden­ti­fied as Chris Harper Mercer.

As a por­trait of the shooter — who died in the car­nage — be­gan emerg­ing on Fri­day, of­fi­cials said they had re­cov­ered 13 weapons be­long­ing to him, in­clud­ing six at the school.

Ce­linez Nunez, an agent with the Bureau of Al­co­hol, To­bacco, Firearms and Ex­plo­sives, told a press con­fer­ence that a flak jacket with steel plates and five mag­a­zines were also found lay­ing next to a ri­fle at the school.

Author­i­ties said they were still try­ing to de­ter­mine what prompted the killings. Sev­eral re­ports said Mercer, who ap­par­ently had no ties to the col­lege, may have been seek­ing no­to­ri­ety.

“He ap­pears to be an an­gry young man who was very filled with hate,” the New York Times quoted an un­named law en­force­ment of­fi­cial as say­ing.

Another of­fi­cial said Mercer, who lived with his mother, was ob­sessed with guns and re­li­gion and had lean­ings to­ward white supremacy.

Wit­nesses said he de­manded to know his vic­tims’ re­li­gion be­fore gun­ning them down.

“They would stand up and he said ‘Good, be­cause you’re a Chris­tian, you’re go­ing to see God in just about one sec­ond,’” Stacy Boylan told CNN, re­lay­ing his daugh­ter Ana’s ac­count. She sur­vived by play­ing dead.

Hate-filled Writ­ings

CNN quoted in­ves­ti­ga­tors as say­ing that dur­ing the shoot­ing rampage, Mercer handed hate­filled writ­ings to a sur­vivor that spoke of his frus­tra­tion at not hav­ing a girl­friend and at be­ing a vir­gin. He also re­port­edly left be­hind a box.

Derrick McClen­don, a for­mer neigh­bor of Mercer when he lived in Cal­i­for­nia, said the young man was very with­drawn and ill at ease.

“I would say, ‘Hey, man, you all right?’” McClen­don told the New York Times. “He would say ‘hi,’ but that’s it. He was re­ally shy.”

Mercer’s neigh­bors in Ore­gon de­scribed him as a with­drawn, anx­ious man who wore the same out­fit ev­ery day — com­bat boots, green army pants and a white T-shirt.

“He was not a friendly type of guy,” said Bronte Hart.

“He did not want any­thing to do with any­one.”

The rampage Thurs­day in the close- knit ru­ral com­mu­nity prompted an im­pas­sioned new plea for gun con­trol by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama who said Amer­i­cans had be­come “numb” to the hor­ror of mass shoot­ings.

Obama on Fri­day warned that un­less gun safety mea­sures are adopted, such killings would go on.

“Let’s not for­get this is hap­pen­ing ev­ery sin­gle day in for­got­ten neigh­bor­hoods around the coun­try,” he told re­porters. “Ev­ery sin­gle day, kids are just run­ning for their lives try­ing to get to school.”

In an­swer to those who ar­gue that men­tal ill­ness lies at the root of Amer­ica’s mass shoot­ing epi­demic, Obama said the key was to limit ac­cess to guns for the tiny mi­nor­ity of men­tally ill peo­ple who turn vi­o­lent.

“The only thing we can do is make sure that they can’t have an en­tire ar­se­nal when some­thing snaps in them,” he said.

U.N. Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Ban Kimoon also added his voice to calls for ac­tion to curb gun vi­o­lence say­ing it was tak­ing an “ap­palling toll” on Amer­i­can so­ci­ety.

AP

The photos of three of the vic­tims of the mass shoot­ing at Um­pqua Com­mu­nity Col­lege are dis­played at a news con­fer­ence in Rose­burg, Ore­gon, Fri­day, Oct. 2. In the photos, from left, are Quinn Cooper, 18, Lu­cas Ei­bel, 18 and Jason John­son, 33. They were among those killed when Chris Harper Mercer walked into a class at the com­mu­nity col­lege, Thurs­day, Oct. 1, and opened fire. Also shown are Port­land Po­lice Sgt. Peter Simp­son, left, and Dou­glas County Sher­iff John Han­lin.

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