Gunman kills 9 and injures 7 at Oregon community college

Suspect killed by police after mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg

 

A gunman opened fire on Thursday at a community college in Oregon in the US, killing 9 people and wounding some 7 others before he was shot to death by law enforcement, in the latest mass killing to rock a US school, the state attorney general and county sheriff said.

There were conflicting reports on the number of casualties and wounded in the rampage at Umpqua Community College, Roseburg, which began shortly after 10.30am local time (4.30pm Irish time).

The state’s attorney general told the local NBC affiliate that 13 people had been killed, 20 wounded and the shooter was killed.

Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said the gunman was killed in an exchange of gunfire with police officers. The suspect was not identified, but CNN reported it was a man in his late 20s.

“Its been a terrible day,” Sheriff Hanlin said.

The shooting is the latest incident of gun violence in the US, raising demands for more gun control and more effective treatment of the mentally ill.

CNN reported that among the wounded was a female who had been shot in the chest. The Oregonian said that at least six patients were critically injured in the shooting, citing an official with Life Flight.

Andi Dinnetz, an 18-year-old freshman at Umpqua, said she was in the building next to where the shooting took place and hid in a welding shop along with a teacher and classmates until a police officer arrived. She said she was “fine, but shaken”.

“They walked us straight through the crime scene with our hands up,” Ms Dinnetz said. “It was more tense outside. In the classroom, everyone was trying to make jokes and keep it from being as serious as it was.”

Roger Sanchez, a testing co-ordinator at the school, said students came running into the building where he worked.

“They came in running and we went into lockdown,” Mr Sanchez said. “I knew it was serious.”

Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg said on Facebook that the hospital had received nine patients from the shooting and had been advised that three more were en route.

Local media reported that authorities were combing through the campus, which serves more than 13,000 students, 3,000 of them full-time. The FBI said it was sending agents to the scene. Fall term began at the college on Monday.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said students and faculty members were being bused to the nearby fairgrounds where they could be picked up.

President Barack Obama was briefed on the shootings by Lisa Monaco, his homeland security adviser, a White House official has said.

“At the president’s request, he will continue to receive updates throughout the day,” the official said.

The rural town of Roseburg lies west of the Cascade Mountains. The timber industry has struggled there, and authorities in recent years have tried to promote the area as a tourist destination for wine growing and outdoor activities.

Reuters/Press Association