Staff and students at Washington’s Lower Columbia College (LCC) share a moment of silence in support of shooting victims at Umpqua Community College in neighboring Oregon.

Staff and students at Washington’s Lower Columbia College (LCC) share a moment of silence in support of shooting victims at Umpqua Community College in neighboring Oregon. Photo: LCC | FlickrCC.

A 26-year-old gunman caused a massacre at an Oregon college campus last week, which seems to have been driven by a religious rage.

Chris Harper Mercer, who was identified by US law enforcement officials, was armed with three pistols and a semiautomatic rifle when he went to the rural Umpqua Community College and attacked students and professors in a classroom on the fourth day of fall semester. Harper-Mercer was a student at Umpqua and was enrolled in English and theater classes.

He grew up in southern California and although very quiet, most people new that he was interested in guns and that he collected rifles and handguns and regularly visited shooting ranges with his mother.

On Thursday morning, the 26 year old killed nine people and wounded many others. According to several survivors of the shooting, Mercer would ask his hostages if they were Christians.

A witness said to the Roseburg Beacon News, “The shooter was lining people up and asking if they were Christian. If they said yes, then they were shot in the head. If they said no or didn’t answer, they were shot in the legs.”

Ana Boylan, 18, was in the classroom when the gunman entered and shot her professor. Boylan was shot in the back and the girl standing next to her was shot too.

Victims ranged from 18 to 67 including a woman in a wheelchair who had a service dog. According to one witness, “When he came in, he told everybody to get on the ground.

Everybody tried to huddle to the ground”, including the woman in the wheelchair. “She got off the chair, she went on the ground and then he told her to get back on the chair. And then she tried to climb back on the chair, and then he shot her.”

About 

Martin Ackerman is a freelance writer and current editor originally from Staten Island, NY. His university schooling focused on English education and Japanese. He has a (not so secret) passion for art history and political science. When he isn't writing or editing you can find him at sci-tech conventions, building the latest LEGO city or pampering his cat, Tea. You can follow him on Twitter @MarMackerman.