Gunman Chris Harper-Mercer opened fire in a class at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, killing nine people on October 1, 2015. Harper-Mercer later committed suicide after exchanging gunfire with the reporting officers.
The massacre left eight students and an assistant professor dead. Of the nine killed, eight died at the scene and the ninth died after being taken to Mercy Medical Center. They were identified as:
Treven Taylor Anspach
Rebecka Ann Carnes
Quinn Glen Cooper
Kim Saltmarsh Dietz
Jason Dale Johnson
Lawrence Levine (assistant professor)
Sarena Dawn Moore
The gunman was enrolled in the writing class when he chose to murder his classmates and teacher.
“He sounded really deranged because he said that he’d been waiting to do that for a really long time, and he laughed,” says 18 year-old Ana Boylan, who sustained a gunshot wound to her back.
Tracy Heu, wife and mother of three, recalls remaining face down in a pool of her classmates’ blood to play dead. This morbid cover eventually saved her life.
“I didn’t want him to notice that I was still alive, so that he wouldn’t point me up…he was telling (people) that he knows they are still alive and for them to get up,” Heu told CNN.
Heu recalled how one-by-one, the gunman called for individuals to stand up, performing a grim roll call to find out their religion.
“He asked them ‘Are you Christian? Do you believe in God?’ and then they said yes and he said, ‘Good, I’ll send you to God. You’ll be visiting God pretty soon,’ and then he shoots them,” recalls Heu, adding that each time someone stood, he or she was shot regardless of the answer.
Heu also tells how student Chris Mintz was shot seven times, but survived, saying, “he opened the door and tried to intervene…I heard him screaming ‘I have a six year old son, his birthday is today,’ but (the gunman) still shot him.”
Student Sarena Moore was shot in her wheelchair next to her service dog, ironically named Bullet. Bullet survived unharmed.
One student, known only as Matthew, was better known by the gunman as the “lucky one.”
The 18 year-old had to perform two “simple” tasks in order to save his life: deliver the gunman’s message to the police, and watch his classmates get shot right in front of him.
Harper-Mercer gave Matthew an envelope with a flashdrive inside, which contained writings about his frustrations, including not having a girlfriend.
Matthew’s mother said that even though Matthew is physically fine, the emotional trauma he sustained might never heal.
Florida Governor and republican GOP candidate Jeb Bush said, “Look, this stuff happens,” belittling the school shooting.
Also belittling the tragic event was fellow candidate Ben Carson who essentially criticized the way the victims dealt with the situation, saying he would have had a more aggressive approach if faced with a gunman and would direct people to fight back.
Carson also criticized President Obama for visiting Roseburg, Oregon and the families of victims. Carson did not agree, saying if he was president he would not make that visit.
Carson also criticized Obama’s want to lessen the availability of guns. Incidentally, the gunman grew up around and using guns his whole life with his family.
Harper-Mercer’s mother, a registered nurse who shared an apartment with her son, had previously boasted online about her arsenal and fear of potential restrictions on gun ownership.
According to her patients, Mercer spoke openly about her love of guns and how she took her son to shooting ranges, complaining however, that they were not very private.
Growing up around guns and using them frequently, this act was not as out of character as it should have been for Harper-Mercer.
This has since brought up the reoccurring debate of gun control throughout Congress.
More importantly, the event has left other campuses on guard.
Following the massacre, the FBI put out a warning to the Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey areas:
“Out of an abundance of caution” after the mass shooting that killed nine last week at an Oregon community college, the FBI’s Philadelphia field office has warned Philly-area universities about a threatening post made over the weekend on that crucible and/or cesspit of internet culture, 4chan. “No specific college or university was identified in the posting. We encourage students, faculty, and employees at area colleges and universities to follow the guidance of their campus security officials,” the FBI said in a statement. An eerie post on the message board 4chan warning of a “Beta Rebellion” (“beta” often referring to guys who hate women for rejecting them) lead to the warning of colleges. The post in question claims the Oregon shooting was the first phase of a “Beta rebellion,” and threatens “On October 5, 2015 at 1:00 PM CT, a fellow robot will take up arms against a university near Philadelphia. His cries will be heard, his victims will cower in feat, and the strength of the Union will decay a little more. “I plead to thee, brothers! We only have but one chance, one spark, for our revolution. The United States will soon condemn us to the status quo forever, and soon after, the United Nations. Don’t let our one chance at writing history slip away. Martyr yourself for the cause or support those who have the courage to do so. We have the chance to make the world a better place for betas everywhere.” Beta uprisings usually involve threats of violence, the targets of which often include “alpha males” and females. Although 4chan has been known for its “trolls,” the threat was taken seriously because of the severity and proximity in time and location of past similar events. “It’s tragic how many lives are being taken from school shootings alone; everyone is so young in their life. School should be a safe place, not somewhere that you feel endangered,” says sophomore Giana Matarangelo. Back in 2012, a massacre in a Colorado movie theater left 24 people dead. Gunman James Holmes claimed he was part of the Beta Uprising. Colleges around the country had a moment of silence on Thursday, October 8 to acknowledge the shooting from the previous week. “I think it is important that we learn from this awful event and always remember it so we can be better prepared in the future. It was tragic,” says sophomore Cara Parke. Too many massacres have happened in schools over the years, how are we going to stop it?