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.