The alleged gunman in Thursday’s mass shooting at an Oregon community college was isolated and despised organized religion, multiple reports say.
Chris Harper Mercer, 26, also enjoyed studying the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and related propaganda, according to several news sources.
The New York Times said on Friday that Harper Mercer grew up in Torrance, Calif., before later moving to Winchester, Ore.
In both locations, he often wore the same outfit every day, it said: combat boots, green army pants and a white T-shirt.
Harper Mercer lived a reclusive and antisocial lifestyle, it added, mainly interacting with his fiercely protective mother.
The Daily Beast reported on Thursday that Harper Mercer and his mother, Laurel Harper, an African American, are largely estranged from his white father.
The Times said that Harper Mercer sought attention online by creating a Myspace page and posting pictures of himself bearing firearms. He frequently displayed IRA propaganda, it said, including pictures of the group’s gunmen and video footage of its past conflicts in Northern Ireland.
The Daily Beast said that an online dating profile linked with Harper Mercer’s address described him as “conservative” and “republican.” It also listed one of his “dislikes” as “organized religion,” the news publication added.
Harper Mercer is accused of killing 9 students and wounding 7 others during an attack on Umpqua Community College’s campus in Roseburg, Ore., Thursday before himself dying after exchanging fire with police.
The young man allegedly asked his victims what religion they practiced before opening fire during the incident.