Oregon gunman was an Army dropout

Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer studied mass shooters before turning into one himself

Roseburg: The 26-year-old gunman who opened fire on fellow students in his community college English class, killing nine people, was an Army boot camp dropout who studied mass shooters before becoming one himself.

People take part in a candlelight vigil following the mass shooting in Roseburg, Oregon. Pic/AFP
People take part in a candlelight vigil following the mass shooting in Roseburg, Oregon. Pic/AFP

A day after the rampage in this Oregon timber town, authorities said Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer wore a flak jacket and brought at least six guns and five ammunition magazines to the school. Investigators found another seven guns at the apartment he shared with his mother.

Officials on Friday also released the names of the dead, who ranged in age from 18 to 67 and included several freshmen and a teacher. They were sons and daughters, spouses and parents.

One of the students was active in the Future Farmers of America and loved to play soccer. Another was on only his fourth day of college. One was a 59-year-old student whose daughter was enrolled in the same school but not injured the shooting. Grieving families began sharing details of their loved ones.

“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, 18, said in a statement released through the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.
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.” Seven other people were wounded in the attack in Roseburg, about 180 miles south of Portland.

Harper-Mercer, who died during a shootout with police, was armed with handguns and a rifle, some of which were military grade. The weapons had been purchased legally over the past three years, some by him, others by relatives, said Celinez Nunez, assistant field agent for the Seattle division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Oregon’s top federal prosecutor says the shooter used a handgun when he opened fire on classmates and stashed a rifle in another room and did not fire it. He says it’s impossible to know what the shooter had planned for the rifle.

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