Ore. medic student saw gunman, heard gunshots
Kenny Ungerman, a Navy veteran in his first year in the school’s medic program, said he was talking to a National Guard recruiter outside when they heard a gunshot
ROSEBURG, Ore. — At least nine people were killed and seven others wounded when a gunman opened fire Thursday on a community college campus.
NBC News reported that the gunman, Chris Harper Mercer, 26, was killed in a firefight with sheriff’s deputies at Umpqua Community College. Several survivors said Mercer demanded to know his victims’ religions before deciding where to shoot them.
“You will never hear us mention his name,” Sheriff John Hanlin said Thursday night, because “he in no way deserves it.”
Police would not say whether they had determined a motive and that the victims’ identities may not be released until as late as Saturday.
Dr. Jason Gray, with the Mercy Medical Center, said the hospital received 10 patients Thursday — one died, two were quickly treated and released and three were transferred to a different hospital for a higher-level of care.
Of the four remaining patients, one was discharged late Thursday and one will leave Friday. As for the other two, Gray said they were both expected to survive, but one remains in critical condition. No officers were injured.
Kenny Ungerman, a Navy veteran in his first year in the school’s medic program, said he had just come out of a writing class and was talking to the National Guard recruiter when they heard a gunshot.
“It sounded like a handgun. It wasn’t loud enough to be an assault rifle,” Ungerman said. “Then I saw a guy with a handgun right outside — he was wearing jeans and a T-shirt. He was going toward the building, and he just disappeared into the building.”
Ungerman said he heard people running and screaming, “He has a gun!” and “He’s shooting!”
“I only saw him for a split second,” Ungerman said. He said he and the recruiter hid behind his vehicle, then drove up the road to stop other students from entering the campus.
High school student Autumn Vicari said her 19-year-old brother J.J. was in a room filled with students at the college when the gunman entered.
According to her brother’s account, Vicari said at one point the shooter told people to stand up before asking whether they were Christian or not.
Vicari’s brother said that anyone who responded “yes” was shot in the head. If they said “other” or didn’t answer, they were shot elsewhere in the body, usually the leg, according to the report. Vicari said her brother managed to escape, but watched as three people were later killed in another room.
Three handguns, a long gun similar to an AR-style rifle, magazines for 5.56mm ammunition and a ballistics vest were found on the scene.
“This has been a long, sad, tragic day at UCC,” Rita Cavin, the college’s interim president, said. “And the thing we should take away from it is the power that love can bring to a community.”
The FBI, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Marshals Service all joined numerous state and local agencies at the scene.
Umpqua is a two-year school with about 3,300 full-time students and 16,000 part-time students.