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Monday, October 5, 2015

Oregon Shooter Committed Suicide (Under Psych Drugs?)

ROSEBURG, Ore.—The gunman who killed nine people and injured nine others in a mass shooting at an Oregon community college on Thursday committed suicide as police closed in on him, officials said Saturday. His mother had told a neighbor, "My son is dealing with some mental issues".
The death of the gunman, identified 26-year-old Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer, has been ruled a suicide by state investigators, Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin announced in a news conference. 

Police had earlier said Mr. Harper-Mercer died amid an exchange of gunfire with authorities responding to the shooting Thursday morning at Umpqua Community College, but had said it was unclear whether he died by his own hand or as a result of shots fired by officers.

Stephanie Salas, the mother of a student who was shot in the hand, told The Wall Street Journal on Friday that the gunman shot himself some 20 seconds before officers rushed into his room.

Ms. Salas said her son, Rand McGowan, recounted that the gunman was ranting as he fired shots at students, and told them, “I am going to join you soon enough” before later turning a gun on himself.

The suspect’s family expressed their condolences Saturday. “We are shocked and deeply saddened by the horrific events that unfolded on Thursday,” Mr. Harper-Mercer’s family said in a statement. “Our thoughts, our hearts and our prayers go out to all of the families of those who died and were injured.”

Sheriff Hanlin praised the actions of the two Roseburg police officers who responded to the scene, saying they “stopped the shooter from killing dozens of other people.”

He added that authorities had recovered another weapon linked to Mr. Harper-Mercer at the apartment he shared with his mother, bringing the total located there or at the scene of the shooting to 14. On Friday, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said the weapons all appeared to have been purchased at a federally licensed dealer by the gunman or his relatives.

Sheriff Hanlin on Saturday said authorities were examining digital evidence and other material linked to the gunman, but declined to elaborate. Law-enforcement officials told the Journal on Friday that authorities have writings from Mr. Harper-Mercer that they are analyzing as they seek to understand what motivated his actions.

People who knew Mr. Harper-Mercer or had lived near him said he had long exhibited signs of trouble, describing him as a deeply introverted man who acted far younger than his age, dressed in military-style clothing and seldom strayed far from his protective mother.

He was one of five students listed in the 2009 graduating class of a school for students with emotional issues and learning disabilities, according to a published notice in the Torrance, Calif., newspaper, The Daily Breeze. And he attended Army basic training for one month in 2008 before being discharged at Fort Jackson in Columbia, S.C., according to an Army spokeswoman.

Friends, former classmates and neighbors described him as a lonely man who seethed with disdain toward religion, was interested in guns and liked to go target shooting.

Some survivors of Thursday’s shooting said the gunman asked people to state their religion before opening fire, and appeared to act with greater violence toward Christians, shooting them in the head. Other survivors disputed that account, though they said he asked victims whether they believed in God before shooting them.

Sheriff Hanlin on Saturday released a brief timeline of the shooting. It said the first 911 call came at 10:38 a.m. Two Roseburg officers and one state police officer arrived six minutes later, at 10:44.

Two minutes after that, an officer reported an exchange of gunfire, and in another two minutes, officers reported the suspect was down.

Emergency responders briefly put the gunman on a gurney, but didn't transport him to the hospital because they determined he was dead, said Greg Marlar, chief of Douglas County Fire District No. 2. Ten wounded people were transported from the college and one died at the hospital, he said.

“It was a tragic and horrific scene,” Mr. Marlar said.

Oregon Shooting Suspect Chris Harper-Mercer Committed Suicide, Officials Say ZUSHA ELINSON Oct. 3, 2015

A darker picture emerged Friday of slain Umpqua Community College shooter Chris Harper-Mercer as a deeply troubled, anti-religion, anti-government recluse obsessed with guns.

The U.S. Army discharged him just five weeks into basic training in 2008. Records indicate he graduated in 2009 from a high school catering to troubled and special-needs students. Multiple media sources reported Friday he left behind an angry note that is now in the hands of investigators.

The Los Angeles Times said Harper-Mercer's note was several pages long and talked about his anger and depression.

Sofia Camarena of Long Beach, California, told The Oregonian/OregonLive that she used to date Harper-Mercer's father."I used to change Chris' diapers when he was a baby," she said, upset after learning that he was the shooter in Thursday's massacre and was himself dead. "He was born with problems. He was hard to discipline. If you told him 'no,' he would scream like you had just hit him."

Camarena said that she had heard Harper-Mercer's mother was having "a hard time" with him and that he attended a special school.

There are a number of indications that Harper-Mercer had mental health or behavioral issues. His screen name on some social media sites was "lithium love." Lithium is used as a psychiatric medication.

A neighbor told The New York Times that Harper-Mercer's mother had told a neighbor, "My son is dealing with some mental issues," and was intolerant of roaches that had infested the building.

As the nation learns more about the mass-casualty shooter at a rural Oregon community college, a state lawmaker would like to learn more about drugs used to treat mental illness while one of Nevada's federal lawmakers says it is time for lawmakers to act to try to end mass shootings.

Armed with more than a dozen firearms, extra ammunition and body armor, Chris Harper-Mercer left behind a document which investigators say detailed his poor state of mind. He killed nine people Thursday morning at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., and wounded several more before killing himself.

It has been disclosed that Harper-Mercer graduated from a school for children with learning and emotional challenges. Oregon law enforcement officials say he was struggling with mental health issues.

Local Republican Assemblywoman Michele Fiore says that while a lot of people want to blame guns for mass shootings, she believes we need to take a look at psychiatric drug treatments prescribed to those struggling with mental illness.

Journalists have learned that the shooter's screen name on social media was "lithium love." Lithium is used as a psychiatric medication.

While there is no confirmation of medications that Harper-Mercer was prescribed, Fiore says with some drugs known to cause violence, suicidal and homicidal actions, we need more scientific proof that they work.

"We have to look into what is being prescribed and what is in these meds just like clinical studies," Fiore told News 3 this weekend. "Why don't we do studies on the medication all of these shooters were taking and take that medication off the market?

"Obvioulsy, medications can alter your mind just as alcohol can alter the mind," she said.

In reaction to the shooting, nearly the 1,000th mass shooting in the country since the Sandy Hook School shootings, Nevada's longest-serving U.S. lawmaker says it is time for action.

Roseburg Mass Shooting October 1, 2015

Psychiatric Drugs And Mass Murder: The Connection  AUGUST 28, 2015

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