What Kind Of Guns Did The Oregon Shooter Use? Chris Harper Mercer Was Found With More Than One Weapon
Update: On Friday, it was confirmed that there were nine victim fatalities and that Mercer killed himself after Thursday's mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. On Saturday, there were reports that Mercer handed out a box to a fellow classmate that possibly contained his final note. The note that Mercer left detailed his depression and loneliness. In an interview with CNN on Saturday, Mercer's father wondered how his estranged son was able to obtain 13 guns. Mercer was a student at the college and was enrolled in the writing class where he opened fire. He previously attended a school for mentally unstable children and was briefly enrolled in the U.S. Army in 2008, before he was kicked out a month in for not demonstrating the basic administrative standards required to serve. All of his guns were purchased legally.
ABC reports that the weapons Mercer had were a: 9mm Glock handgun, a .40 S&W Smith & Wesson handgun, three other handguns, and a Del-Ton 5.56×45mm rifle. Six guns were found at the scene of the crime; seven more were found in his home.
The victims' names were released Friday night: Lucero Alcaraz, 19; Treven Taylor Anspach, 20; Rebecka Ann Carnes, 18; Quinn Glen Cooper, 18; Kim Saltmarsh Dietz, 59; Lucas Eibel, 18; Jason Dale Johnson, 33; Lawrence Levine, 67 (assistant professor); Sarena Dawn Moore, 44.
Earlier: Following an attack on Thursday that left 10 dead, including the gunman, and seven more injured, authorities have identified the kind of guns the Oregon community college shooter used. It is still unclear whether the shooter, who has been identified as 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer by law enforcement sources to CNN, was a student at Umpqua Community College, a two-year institution located about 180 miles south of Portland. But ATF's Celinez Nunez told reporters Friday that 13 guns were recovered — six were found on campus and another seven were discovered at the shooter's home. All were purchased legally by the gunman or his family.
The weapons found at the school included five pistols and one rifle, according to Nunez. Of the seven found at the shooter's home, there were two pistols, four rifles and one shotgun. Investigators also found a flak jacket next to one of the firearms found at UCC. The jacket was outfitted with steel plates and held five magazines. Ammunition was also recovered at the shooter's home, according to authorities. When asked whether the amount of firearms was surprising, Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin told reporters, "Oregon is a hunting state, and firearms are popular."
Eyewitnesses report that the shootings took place in at least two different classrooms, and according to UCC student Kortney Moore, Mercer allegedly asked individuals about their religion before shooting. One law enforcement official told The New York Times, “He appears to be an angry young man who was very filled with hate." In the aftermath of the shooting, there have been renewed calls for stricter gun control efforts, particularly from the White House and President Obama, who was visibly angry while addressing the nation on Thursday afternoon, stating that America is "numb" to mass killings.
This year, Oregon joined several states that implement universal background checks for individuals looking to purchase firearms — meaning that if Mercer obtained his weapons legally, he could have been screened and cleared for the purchase. But the law may not always be enforced in Oregon, where the decision was met with backlash, or in Douglas County, where the shooting took place.
Sheriff Hanlin has previously stated that these background checks would be "impossible" to enforce and was one of several who argued against gun control laws in a 2013 letter to Vice President Joe Biden following the Newtown massacre. "Gun control is NOT the answer to preventing heinous crimes like school shootings," Hanlin wrote, according to a copy of the letter obtained by Mother Jones.
The United States Supreme Court has ruled that when a Sheriff chooses to enforce an unconstitutional directive, he is violating his Constitutional Oath. I will NOT violate my Constitutional Oath. Therefore, the second purpose of this letter is to make notification that any federal regulation enacted by Congress or by executive order of the President offending the Constitutional rights of my citizens shall not be enforced by me or by my deputies, nor will I permit the enforcement of any unconstitutional regulations or orders by federal officers within the borders of Douglas County Oregon.
The names of the victims have yet to be released, though some have come forward to talk with various news outlets. On Friday, authorities continued to investigate Mercer's motives and weapons, though religion may have been a factor. Regardless of how the guns and ammunition were obtained, the ensuing debate is sure to be highly charged and divisive — especially considering that Thursday's attack is the worst college shooting since 2007, when 32 were killed and 17 injured by a shooter on the Virginia Tech campus.