ROSEBURG, Oregon — Ten people were killed and another seven were injured in a shooting at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College, Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said Thursday. Earlier reports had put the number of people hurt much higher.
The FBI has confirmed Thursday night that the shooter was included as one of the 10 who died.
Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said that two “heroic” officers arrived on scene and went strait into the building to confront the killer, at which time a shootout ensued, and the shooter was killed in the exchange of gunfire.
Investigators have identified the shooter as 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer, multiple law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation told CNN. Investigators have been interviewing members of his family and friends, the sources said.
Thursday night Hanlin briefed the media again before going to a town candlelight vigil, and he spoke about the importance of focusing on the victims, and not glorifying the shooter.
“Let me be very clear: I will not name the shooter,” said Sheriff Hanlin. “I will not give him the credit he probably sought prior to this horrific and cowardly act…You will never hear me mention his name.”
Officers continued the sweep of the campus to ensure there were no other threats. Four guns were found at the scene, including three pistols and one rifle, a law enforcement official said. All four were believed to belong to the shooter. Legally, a person must be 21 or older to buy a pistol from a gun dealer.
“We arrived to find multiple patients in multiple classrooms. Law enforcement was on scene and had the shooter neutralized,” Douglas County Fire Marshal Ray Shoufler told CNN.
He said that two patients died while being transported to a hospital.
Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg, Oregon, received 10 patients, according to the hospital's Facebook page.
Later in the evening, the hospital said in a press conference that four remain hospitalized in surgery--one in critical condition and the other three stable. One person died in the ER. Three others were flown from Mercy Medical to PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield, about 70 miles north of the shooting scene, by helicopter. The hospital says on its Facebook page that two patients are in serious condition and a third is in critical condition.
Two other victims were treated and released.
It wasn't immediately clear why the hospitals reported treating 10 victims, while Sheriff Hanlin said seven were injured.
The shooting appears to have started in one building before the gunman moved to the school's science building, the source told CNN. Those killed and wounded were found in at least two classrooms.
According to the source close to the investigation, authorities are looking at social media posts between a person they believe may have been the shooter, and others.
The conversation happened Wednesday night on 4chan. (Warning, some may find the conversations too graphic)
In it, the writer talks about planning to carry out a shooting. Others egg him on, giving him suggestions on how to do it, and the type of weapons to use.
"This is the only time I'll ever be in the news. I'm so insignificant," reads an apparent post by the would-be Oregon gunman. Eventually, a commenter mentions the FBI is watching the thread.
ATF agents and canine teams also responded to the scene to search for explosives, fire arms casings and ammunition.
Roseburg is a city of about 22,000 people located about 70 miles south of Eugene, Oregon, and some 180 miles south of Portland.
The school is not a traditional institution of higher learning, as the average age of its 13,600 students was 38 during the 2013-2014 school year. Only 740 of those were full-time, 2,437 were part-time and more than 10,000 fell under the umbrella of "community education."
In a tweet Thursday, the local fire district advised people to stay away from Umpqua Community College in Roseburg.