A gunman has killed 13 students and injured at least 20 others in a rampage at a community college in Roseburg, Oregon.
Local officials responded to reports of an active shooting at Umpqua Community College on Thursday at 10:30am, where victims were found in multiple classrooms. The death toll is as yet unclear, though officials have put the number at 13 so far.
Among the deceased is gunman Chris Harper Mercer, 26, who demanded students state their religion before opening fire with four guns.
Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin confirmed that Mercer was killed after exchanging fire with police. Law enforcement then swept the campus for additional threats.
The rural campus in Roseburg, three hours south of Portland and home to over 3000 students, was immediately put into lock-down. Roseburg’s local medical centres, the Mercy Medical Centre and the Red Cross are tending to the injured.
President Barack Obama expressed his disbelief at yet another mass shooting in the US.
“Our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It’s not enough,” President Obama said. “It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel, and it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted some place else in America next week or a couple months from now.”
This is the second shooting in the Roseburg area in less than a decade.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown has ordered flags at Oregon public institutions lowered to half-mast in the wake of the tragedy.
“Today is heartbreaking for Umpqua Community College, the greater Roseburg community, and all of Oregon,” she said. “My heart is heavy as we continue to learn more about today’s tragic events. While it is still too early to know all of the facts, the effects of an incident such as this one are long-lasting. Please join me in keeping the victims and their families, as well as first responders, in your thoughts.”
Police say investigations are active and ongoing. – Matina Moutzouris
Top photo is aerial view of Umpqua Community College from BBC’s coverage of the shooting.