Shooter dead after massacre at Oregon community college

A male gunman opened fire at a community college in southwest Oregon on Thursday morning, killing nine people and injuring seven, according to multiple reports. The gunman is also dead.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said that while facts are still emerging, she could confirm that there were casualties as well as injuries in the shooting at Umpqua Community College.

The gunman was identified in reports Thursday night as Chris Harper Mercer, a 26-year-old.

Police exchanged fire with the shooter, but no officers were injured in the crossfire, said Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin. 

Hanlin declined to comment on whether the gunman was a student at the college, which he said did not have armed security guards.

One student, Kortney Moore, 18, told The News-Review that she was in her writing class in Snyder Hall when a shot came through a window. 

She told the newspaper she saw her teacher get shot in the head, apparently after he entered the room, and the gunman told people to get on the ground. 

The shooter then asked people to stand up and state their religion before opening fire, she said. 

A source told CNN that authorities were looking into social media postings from the gunman, who has not yet been identified. CNN's Pamela Brown said a source told her that three pistols and one long rifle were found at the scene.

Scores of people were wounded in the shooting, with victims transported to several local hospitals.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families today," Brown said. "We are holding Douglas County in our hearts."

"To our first responders — than you for your work as our community responds to its grief," the governor added. "Our top priority is medical treatment for the victims and the security of the campus."

Mercy Medical Center, which was receiving some victims, said that it had received nine patients from the school and three more were expected. PeaceHealth Riverbend Hospital in Springfield was also preparing for incoming victims, according to The Oregonian.

"We're trying to prepare for a half-dozen or more victims," said Jim Godbold, director of communications at SpringHealth in the Eugene and Springfield area. "This is a disaster-level response."

Authorities received reports of the shooting at Umpqua Community College around 1:30 p.m., and a local fire district tweeted that an active shooter was at the school.

The FBI and the U.S. Marshals are assisting the local investigation into the attack.

Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin declined to comment on whether the gunman was a student at the college, which he said did not have armed security guards.

"Umpqua Community College is the only higher education institution in Douglas County," Hanlin said. "We will be conducting a thorough and I'm sure very lengthy investigation into why [this happened].

Former UCC President Jon Olson, who retired in June, said on Thursday that the school’s campus employs one unarmed security officer.

“I suspect this is going to start a discussion across the country about how community colleges prepare themselves for themselves for events like this,” he told The Associated Press.

President Obama was briefed on the shooting by homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco early in the afternoon and was to receive updates throughout the day, a White House official said.

In an evening statement from the White House, a visibly angry Obama lamented that "common sense" gun laws have not been enacted during his tenure.

“This is a political choice that we make, to allow this to happen every few months in America,” Obama said. “We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction.”

The community college south of Portland has around 3,300 full-time students, according to KTVU, and was established in 1964 with more than a dozen campus buildings on its property.

— This story was last updated at 9:51 p.m.