Ore. College Shooter, Identified as Chris Harper Mercer, Singled Out Christians, Father of Victim Says


Multiple law-enforcement officials have identified the shooter who killed 10 people at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., as 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer, even as Douglas County, Ore., Sheriff John Hanlin remains firm in his stance that he "will never" utter the shooter's name, CNN reports.

In an interview on New Day Friday, Hanlin reiterated his refusal, saying that that would be the job of the Oregon State Medical Examiner's Office.  


"I don't want to glorify the shooter, I don't want to glorify his name, I don't want to glorify his cause," Hanlin said. "I'm refusing to state his name. … You won't hear his name from me or this investigation."

Hanlin also said that it was still "too early to tell what the motive was," adding that he had not heard anything about the gunman asking victims about their religion.


Stacy Boylan, the father of one of those victims, 18-year-old Anastasia Boylan, said that his daughter told him as much. The gunman entered her classroom firing, reportedly telling the professor, "I've been waiting to do this for years," before shooting the educator point blank, Anastasia Boylan told her father.

Everyone took cover, and the gunman, reloading his weapon, ordered students to stand before asking if they were Christians, according to the account Anastasia Boylan gave her father, CNN reports.


"And they would stand up and he said, 'Good, because you're a Christian, you're going to see God in just about one second,' " Stacy Boylan told CNN, recounting what his daughter had told him. "And then he shot and killed them."

Anastasia Boylan was hit in the back and had to undergo spinal surgery. She reportedly pretended to be dead, even as she lay bleeding on the ground, even as the gunman called out to her, "Hey you, blond woman," the family told the cable news network.


The New York Times described Mercer as a withdrawn young man who wore the same thing every day and was fiercely protected by his mother, Laurel Harper.

Neighbors in Oregon and California, where Mercer lived before moving to Oregon, described him as "anxious" and "shy."


"He always seemed anxious," Rosario Lucumi, 51, who rode the same bus as Mercer while en route to work in Torrance, Calif., told the Times. "He always had earphones in, listening to music."

Another Torrance neighbor, 42-year-old Derrick McClendon, said that the young man appeared so skittish that he would always ask him if something was wrong.


"I would say, 'Hey, man, you all right?' " McClendon told the Times. "He would say hi, but that's it. He was really shy."

Torrance neighbors said that Mercer's mother often lodged complaints directly to neighbors for a variety of annoyances that she said bothered her son, from loud noises, such as children playing and dogs barking, to pests. Harper reportedly once went door-to-door with a petition to hand to the landlord in order to get cockroaches exterminated form her apartment, the Times reports.


"She said, 'My son is dealing with some mental issues, and the roaches are really irritating him,' " Julia Winstead, 55, said. "She said they were going to go stay in a motel. Until that time, I didn't know she had a son."

An online dating profile linked to Mercer, with a photo of him, identified him as "mixed race" and a "conservative, republican," with a "dislike" of "organized religion."


Blog posts left by an account with the username lithium_love, which is associated with an email address linked to Mercer, spoke about two recent shootings: the shooting death of an officer near Houston and the slaying of two Virginia reporters on live television by Vester Flanagan, CNN notes.

"I have noticed that so many people like him are all alone and unknown, yet when they spill a little blood, the whole world knows who they are. A man who was known by no one, is now known by everyone. His face splashed across every screen, his name across the lips of every person on the planet, all in the course of one day. Seems the more people you kill, the more you're in the limelight," the poster wrote about Flanagan.


"And I have to say, anyone who knew him could have seen this coming. People like him have nothing left to live for, and the only thing left to do is lash out at a society that has abandoned them," the post continued.

Read more at CNN and the New York Times

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