Multiple people have been shot after an attack at a community college in south-western Oregon, emergency officials say.
The fire district said on Twitter that “multiple casualties” had been transported from the scene. CNN reported that a local hospital is expecting an “unknown number” of patients.
The fire department on Twitter advised people to stay away from Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, which is about 180 miles south of Portland.
Appearing on MSNBC, Ray Shouffler of the Douglas County fire department said the suspected shooter had been “neutralized”.
The ATF said it was sending additional agents from its Portland office and a K9 team to assist in any investigation.
Umpqua Community College has about 3,000 students. Its website was down Thursday, and a phone message left at the school by the Associated Press wasn’t immediately returned.
The Umpqua shooter has been named as Chris Harper Mercer, a 26-year-old who lived with his mother at an apartment only a few miles from the college.
Although little is yet known about Mercer, he appears to have left an online footprint which hints at interest in mass shootings as well as apparent support for the IRA.
He also appears to have been a prolific user of the file-sharing system Bittorrent.
An email address, “firstname.lastname@example.org” was found to be associated with a Chris Harper Mercer of Winchester, Oregon, via a public records search. That address is linked to an account on the torrent upload site kat-ph.proxy-x.com, which bears the username “Lithium_Love”.
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The final video uploaded by Lithium_Love to the torrent site, just three days ago, was a BBC documentary called “Surviving Sandy Hook,” about the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012.
Other uploads include PDFs of the occult magazine Phenomena, conspiracy-themed documentaries like “Lost Secrets of the Illuminati”, and assorted soft pornography.
There is also a blog attached to the upload account. The first entry was posted on July 6, 2015, and is titled “The material world is a lie.” It says: “Most people will spend hours standing in front of stores just to buy a new iphone ... I used to be like that, always concerned about what clothes I had, rather than whether or not I was happy. But not anymore.”
“Since then I have learned the truth that such attachments are falsehoods and will only bring misery. This is my first blog post, there will be more to come.”
Other blog posts complain about the uploading habits of other users. Another bemoans the death of horror filmmaker Wes Craven.
A Myspace page bearing Mercer’s name is filled with pictures of masked gunmen and references to the Irish Republican Army, including a picture of the front page of a the Irish republican newspaper An Phoblacht, bearing the headline “British Army Could Not Defeat IRA”. Another photo to the page carries the words “IRA undefeated army”.
The page gives Mercer’s home location as Torrance, California. A Whitepages page – which tracks addresses and phone numbers – gives two addresses for Mercer: one in Torrance, California, and the other in Winchester, Oregon. The latter is also the address associated with the registration of the “ironcross45” email address.
Using that email address, Mercer also appears to have advertised for pen pals on the website Morgue Pals, which describes itself as “the hippest place for pen pals who identify with any sort of alternative culture.”
In his advertisement, Mercer, then aged 20, said he was looking for email pals and described his hobbies as “music movies and news.”
In his profile he described himself as: “I’m 20 years old, in college, I like to listen to music, mostly goth/punk/industrial/electronic, and I love to watch movies, Horror movies are the best, but i also like some action films, depending on the type, and I like crime dramas as well.“
He added: “I’m looking for penpals who are similar to me, but anyone is welcome to email me.”
A posting on the Spiritual Passions dating and social networking site uses a picture that appears to be Mercer under the user name IRONCROSS45, a handle Mercer used as his email.
He described himself on the site as a 26-year-old, mixed-race “man looking for a woman”. He said he was “not religious, but spiritual”, and was a “teetotaler” living with his parents and a conservative Republican. Socially, he said, he was “shy at first” and “better in small groups”. He described himself as “always dieting” and looking for “the yin to my yang”.
The email address XXX is also associated with a crowdfunding webpage to help the user pay for uploading and storing bittorrent files for downloading videos as well. According to the cached version of the webpage, the most recent video uploaded was Collection Of Hot Lesbians (Nudes) Vol. 8.
Two phone numbers associated with the name appeared to have been disconnected.
A profile on the site belonging to Mercer on the website Spiritual Singles, which advertises itself as “a free online dating & social networking site specifically for spiritual singles,” and bears a picture of the same person as Mercer’s Myspace page, the alleged killer describes himself politically as a “conservative, republican” whose hobbies are “internet, killing zombies, movies, music, reading” and who lives with parents.
In the profile, the personality type he is looking for is “intellectual, punk, introvert, loner, lover, geek, nerd” with an “individuality” of “piercings, psychic, tattoos, vampire”. His preferred religious views are “Pagan, Wiccan, Not Religious, but Spiritual” as well.
On the anarchic image-sharing message-board 4chan, rumours were flying on Thursday night that the killer may have been one of their own. In an anonymous post at 1:19 AM on Thursday morning on the /r9k board – all posts to 4chan are by definition anonymous – someone said “Some of you guys are alright. Don’t go to school tomorrow if you are in the northwest.”
Users on 4chan goaded the poster, and many on the board were freaking out on Thursday evening that they might have had a hand in the shooting, though there is no way of verifying that the post came from the shooter.