Authorities in Oregon have confirmed that the heavily armed gunman who went on a shooting rampage at a community college left a hate-filled note at the scene.
NBC News and CBS News have quoted official sources saying Friday afternoon that the shooter “felt the world was against him.” He wrote he was “in a bad way” and did not have a girlfriend, adding that he “had no life.”
Christopher Harper Mercer, 26, who shot dead nine students and wounded nine others before he was killed in an exchange of gunfire with police at Umpqua Community College (UCC), also wrote that he would be “welcomed in Hell and embraced by the devil” in his multi-page, typewritten message.
13 weapons recovered
Federal investigators have recovered 13 weapons owned by the lone gunman, including six firearms recovered at the school and seven at the gunman’s apartment.
“All the guns were purchased legally and traced to the same firearms dealer,” Celinez Nunez of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Friday. She told a news conference that some of the weapons were purchased by the shooter, while others were not.
The weapons recovered at UCC in Roseburg, Oregon consisted of five pistols and a rifle. Police are attempting to determine why Mercer opened fire at the school Thursday. Police also are planning to investigate the shooter’s blog posts to determine a motive.
Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin told reporters at the same Friday news conference that teams of investigators are working with the victims’ families individually to give them personal attention.
Hospital officials said two of the wounded are in stable condition and one was being moved out of intensive care.
Hanlin told CNN that investigators spent the night trying to reach neighbors and friends of the shooter, and that they are still processing evidence from the crime scene.
Witnesses to the rampage said the shooter was targeting Christians. At least two witness accounts said the shooter asked his victims if they were Christian before he shot them.
In an unusual step, Hanlin said he personally will not give the shooter undue publicity by using his name.
“I will not give him the credit he probably sought prior to this horrific and cowardly act,” Hanlin said, while encouraging members of the media to avoid using, repeating or sensationalizing the shooter’s name once it is confirmed.
President Obama’s reaction
An angry U.S. President Barack Obama responded to the shooting again Friday at a televised news conference when he encouraged Americans to become “single issue voters” on gun control by electing officials who are committed to passing such legislation in Congress.
“The [National Rifle Association] doesn’t represent the majority of the American people, but they’re very effective. The American people are going to have to match their sense of urgency,” Obama said.
He said the majority of Americans, including law abiding gun owners, want tougher gun laws.
Sheriff Hanlin said many law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, are involved in the investigation. Officials are making sure the campus is safe and are looking for a motive.
Authorities believe the gunman was familiar with the college and the building. They also say he wrote on a social media website about what he was planning to do.
Investigators believe this was a case of domestic terrorism with no ties to any international group.
Hanlin called Thursday’s incident a “huge shock” to the quiet rural county, where few residents are strangers.
About 3,000 students attend Umpqua Community College. Fifty-eight percent of them are female. Most of the students are 30 and older who go to the school part-time to prepare to change careers.