PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — At least 9 people were killed and 7 others injured in a shooting at Umpqua Community College, Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said Thursday night.
Around 10:40 a.m., local authorities responded to reports of an active shooter on the campus at 1140 Umpqua College Road.
Kortney Moore, a student at Umpqua Community College, said the gunman shot her teacher and asked others in her classroom about their religion before spraying more bullets. Officers on the scene quickly located the shooter in a classroom and an exchange of gunfire ensued, Sheriff Hanlin said in a press conference.
The shooter was 1 of 9 people killed in the shooting, the FBI said. He was later identified as 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer, according to a government official who was not authorized to speak publicly and provided the name on condition of anonymity. Authorities shed no light on his motive and said they were investigating.
Law enforcement officials from multiple agencies swept the campus, looking for indications of other possible threats. School officials say nearly 3,000 students were on campus during the shooting.
Nearly 2 hours after the initial 911 calls came in, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said there was no longer an active threat on campus.
PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at Riverbend in Eugene confirmed they received 3 patients suffering from gunshot wounds via Life Flight medical helicopter. Two of the patients are listed in serious condition, 1 is critical. Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg said they received 10 patients from the shooting.
At a press conference in downtown Portland, Oregon Governor Kate Brown gave her condolences to those involved in the shooting and thanked first responders.
“Our thoughts are with the victims and their families,” Gov. Brown said. “Our top priority now is the medical treatment for victims and the security of the campus.”
Senator Jeff Kruse told KOIN 6 News many facts are still unclear. He said large distances between buildings on the rural community college’s campus made it difficult for first responders.
Former Umpqua Community College President Joe Olson said the school has only 1 security officer on duty at a time, and that person isn’t armed.
Last year, Olson said one of the biggest debates on campus was whether the school should have armed security officers. He said the college had three training exercises with local law agencies in the past two years, “but you can never be prepared for something like this.”
In a press briefing at the White House on Thursday evening, President Barack Obama said the U.S. is becoming numb to mass shootings and that perpetrators have “sickness” in their minds. “Somehow this has become routine,” Obama said. “The United States of America is the one advanced nation on Earth in which we do not have common sense on gun safety laws.”
Several discussion on an anonymous online message board note the shooter may have revealed plans to attack an Oregon school just a day prior. “Some of you guys are alright,” one post read. “Don’t go to school tomorrow if you are in the northwest,” the person wrote on Wednesday afternoon.
Some users seemed to egg the person on by wishing them luck and offering advice. “Do it,” one person wrote. “I suggest you enter a classroom and tell people you will take them as hostages. Make everyone get in one corner and then open fire.”
Law enforcement officials have not confirmed whether these online conversations are attributed to the suspect.
Umpqua Community College will be closed until Monday, October 5. Counselors are available at Douglas County Fairgrounds, where students were taken by bus in the direct aftermath of the shooting.
A blood drive has been planned for 12 p.m. Friday at Mercy Medical Center where 10 patients from Umpqua Community College are currently being treated.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.