What We Know About The Oregon School Shooting

Oct 2, 2015
Originally published on October 14, 2015 3:07 pm
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Authorities in Roseburg, Ore., have identified the nine people who died yesterday in this country’s latest mass shooting. The victims range in ages from 18 to 67. They died when a gunman opened fire on the campus of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg. There’s also news today about the investigation of the attack, which left the gunman dead as well. NPR’s Tom Goldman is in Roseburg and filed this report.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Since yesterday when the shootings happened, local law enforcement officials have stressed to reporters the victims and their families are the top priorities. Today, those officials revealed the people behind the death tally of nine. Sixty-seven-year-old Lawrence Levine, a teacher at Umpqua Community College, was the oldest to die. Eighteen-year-old Rebecka Ann Carnes was among the youngest. There was Lucero Alcaraz, 19, Treven Anspach, 20, Serena Dawn Moore was 44, Kim Dietz, 59. Oregon State Police Sergeant Cari Boyd read a statement from 18-year-old Lucas Eibel’s parents.

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CARI BOYD: Lucas loved Future Farmers of America, volunteering at Wildlife Safari and Saving Grace animal shelter.

GOLDMAN: Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin read a statement from the family of 34-year-old Jason Johnson.

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JOHN HANLIN: Jason recently enrolled in school at Umpqua Community College. Jason’s mother said that Jason was proud of himself for enrolling in the school. They felt that Jason had finally found his path.

GOLDMAN: And then again, Sergeant Boyd, reading from a note written by the parents of 18-year-old Quinn Cooper. He just graduated from Roseburg High School in June.

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BOYD: I don’t know how we’re going to move forward with our lives without Quinn. Our lives are shattered beyond repair.

GOLDMAN: Law enforcement officials tell NPR the gunman was 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer. At an earlier briefing in downtown Roseburg, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms official Celinez Nunez described what appears to be an arsenal in Mercer’s possession.

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CELINEZ NUNEZ: So far we’ve recovered 13 weapons. Out of those 13 weapons we currently have in custody, 6 were recovered at the school, 7 were recovered at the shooter’s residence.

GOLDMAN: All the guns which Nunez didn’t describe were bought legally. Nunez also said authorities recovered a steel-plated flak jacket with five magazines of ammunition lying next to a rifle at the school. As investigators continue to process the crime, counseling in this town of just over 20,000 is happening on many levels.

SAMUEL SARKISSIEN: I’m Samuel Sarkissien. I’m the pastor of the Green Community Church.

GOLDMAN: Pastor Sarkissien has been at Green Community a little over three years, and he’s now preparing a Sunday sermon unlike any other.

Have you figured out what you’re going to say?

SARKISSIEN: Some of it. When we don’t stand up against evil and we don’t have an attitude against evil and we blur right and wrong and make it really gray, then evil takes advantage of that.

GOLDMAN: There’s a personal investment for Pastor Sarkissien, and it’s not just as a member of the Roseburg community. He lives with his wife and four kids, ages 5 to 11, about 500 feet from the shooting site. He says last night he spoke to his kids in terms they’d understand.

SARKISSIEN: They’re really into Star Wars right now, so we had to explain to them how some people just go dark, and they allow the darkness to come forward.

GOLDMAN: For those in the community wanting spiritual answers, Pastor Sarkissien is determined to preach a message of hope. People have to talk about hope, he says, but he also knows how tough it is now and how tough it will be going forward.

SARKISSIEN: It’s going to be a long process. We will never be the same. I’ll never be able to drive down my street again without – without thinking of those people and knowing that my kids were exposed to evil.

GOLDMAN: Law enforcement officials tell NPR the gunman, in fact, did ask some of his victims about their religion before he shot them. I asked Pastor Sarkissien about the reports that the gunman asked whether they were Christian.

SARKISSIEN: We see this as a hate crime. We understand that this is something that we have to deal with as Christians. But we don’t live in fear. We live in hope.

GOLDMAN: Outside the church, a sign reads, believe, belong, be trained, be strong. Tom Goldman, NPR News, Roseburg, Ore. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.