Were The Umpqua Shooter's Guns Purchased Legally? (Hint: The Answer Is Depressing)
Law enforcement officials held a press conference Friday about the school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., on Thursday. Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin began the press conference by repeating the department's decision not to release the alleged shooter's name, though he has been identified by several media outlets. Hanlin said that spreading his name would "only glorify his horrific actions." As the press conference continued, Hanlin introduced Celinez Nunez, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) special agent in charge of the case. Nunez revealed that ATF had recovered 13 weapons allegedly belonging to the gunman — and all of the Oregon shooter's weapons were purchased legally. (Update: 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.)
Nunez explained that of the 13 weapons her team recovered, six were found at the school where the shooting took place, and an additional seven were found at the home of the alleged shooter. Nunez and the ATF also found a 14th weapon owned by the alleged shooter, but it had been traded for another weapon and was not recovered. According to Nunez, all 14 of the weapons were traced to a federal firearms dealer, and seven of the weapons were purchased by the alleged shooter or one of his family members within the last three years.
The weapons found at the school included five pistols and one rifle, Nunez said at the press conference. Meanwhile, of the seven weapons found at the alleged shooter's apartment, there were two pistols, four rifles, and one shotgun. In addition to the weapons recovered, investigators found a flak jacket next to one of the rifles they recovered from inside Umpqua Community College. The flak jacket was outfitted with steel plates and held five magazines of ammunition. ATF also recovered more ammunition from inside the alleged shooter's home.
In addition to the weapons, officials believe the 26-year-old suspected gunman left a note glorifying the killers responsible for mass shootings. The note also referred to the gunman's "lonely existence" and few friends outside the Internet realm, USA Today reports. Officials explained that the note detailed the shooter's belief that he had "an isolated life with little promise," according to the paper. In addition to the shooter, nine other people were killed in Thursday's shooting. The attack at Umpqua Community College marked the 45th school shooting in the United States this year.