Witnesses: Gunman targeted Christians

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2015/10/05/witnesses-gunman-targeted-christians/

Chris Harper Mercer, the gunman who killed nine people at Umpqua Community College in Oregon Oct. 1 before turning the gun on himself, allegedly targeted Christians, according to witnesses to the rampage.

The killing spree at the Rosenburg, Ore., college that serves more 13,000 full- and part-time students was the worst this year, with the death toll higher than that from the gang shooting in Waco, Texas in May and the Charleston, S.C. massacre in June.

Stacy Boylan, the father of an 18-year-old student who was shot in the spine but survived, told CNN that his daughter witnessed Mercer gun down a professor, wound several others, and then line up a group of people and ask them their religious affiliation before taking aim.

According to Boylan, Mercer asked for Christians to identify themselves, telling them “you’re going to see God in just about one second,’” before shooting and killing them.

On Friday, the day following the shooting, officials said they found a typed note by Mercer that contains expressions of despair and disappointment with his personal and romantic life. The officials also told the New York Times that Mercer seemed to have anger toward organized religion.

A MySpace page with Mercer’s name shows a photo of the deceased gunman holding a rifle alongside photos of the Irish Republican Army. An online dating site linked to his email address and photo lists him as “Not Religious, Not Religious, but Spiritual,” and say Mercer was part of a group, “Doesn’t Like Organized Religion.”

Kortney Moore, 18, who survived the classroom shooting confirmed to a local newspaper that Mercer demanded that victims state their religion.

Autumn Vicari, a high school student, told NBC News that her 19-year-old brother J.J. who was in the room told her that Mercer shot Christian students in the head and shot others in the leg or other locations.

The New York Times reports that at least two of the nine victims killed at the scene were known among family and friends for their Christian faith.

Coincidentally, another former UCC student was also recently in the news. Alex Skarlatos, one of the men who stopped a gunman on a Paris-bound train attended UCC in 2014, before deploying to Afghanistan, reports Today News.

Armed with six guns, Mercer, 26, was wounded by law enforcement before running off and shooting himself. He later died in the ambulance from the self-inflicted wound, according to the medical examiner’s office.

Five victims remain in the hospital.

Contact Kara Bettis at [email protected] or @karabettis