Chris Harper-Mercer, Oregon shooter, recalled as quiet loner who failed army training
Man seemed unfriendly and would 'sit by himself in the dark in the balcony with this little light'
The man who fatally shot nine people and wounded seven others at an Oregon college Thursday was identified by officials as Chris Harper-Mercer, 26, a quiet young man who lived with his mother in an apartment near the school.
Police weren't saying whether they knew of any motive. The gunman died in a shootout with police.
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Harper-Mercer was a withdrawn young man who neighbours said wore the same outfit every day — combat boots, green army pants and a white T-shirt — and was close to his mother, who fiercely protected him, the New York Times reported.
A spokeswoman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Friday that the shooter owned 13 weapons, all legally purchased. Six were found at the college and seven at his residence, said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Celinez Nunez.
The guns included a 9 mm Glock pistol and .40-caliber Smith & Wesson, an earlier statement said. He also had a .40-caliber Taurus pistol traced to someone in Portland and a .556-caliber Del-Ton.
He was attending the same writing class at Umpqua Community College that he stormed Thursday.
In a photo posted on what was believed to be his MySpace profile, a young man with a shaved head and dark-rimmed eyeglasses stares into the camera while holding a rifle.
Social media profiles linked to Harper-Mercer suggested he was fascinated by the Irish Republican Army, frustrated by traditional organized religion and had tracked other mass shootings.
Interest in mass shootings
There didn't seem to be many recent connections on the social media sites linked to Chris Harper-Mercer, with his MySpace page just showing two friends. He appeared to have at least one online dating profile.
On a torrents streaming site and blog that appeared to belong to Harper-Mercer, posts referred to multiple shootings and downloads, included several horror films and a documentary on a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
A blog post urged readers to watch the online footage of Vester Flanagan shooting two former colleagues on live TV in Virginia, while another lamented materialism as preventing spiritual development.
A MySpace page that appeared to belong to Harper-Mercer included several photos and graphics of the IRA as well as a picture of Harper-Mercer holding a rifle.
The shooting on the campus in the former timber town of Roseburg, 290 kilometres south of Portland, shattered the first week of classes at the community college with about 3,000 students.
Failed basic military training
Details about Harper-Mercer's past began to emerge in the 24 hours following the shooting. The U.S. Army said Friday afternoon that the gunman flunked out of basic training in 2008.
Army spokesman Lt. Col. Ben Garrett said Harper-Mercer started service at Ft. Jackson, S.C., on Nov. 5, 2008. But five weeks later, he was discharged for failing to meet the minimum administrative standards.
Garrett did not say which standards Harper-Mercer failed to meet. But the military usually requires its recruits to pass physical fitness tests and to be in good physical and mental health.
Harper-Mercer lived in a nearby apartment complex, which was cordoned off with yellow tape Thursday night.
A neighbour, Bronte Harte, told The Associated Press that Harper-Mercer "seemed really unfriendly" and would "sit by himself in the dark in the balcony with this little light."
Harte said a woman she believed to be Harper-Mercer's mother also lived upstairs and was "crying her eyes out" Thursday.
In the Los Angeles-area suburb of Torrance,where Harper-Mercer lived for a short time several years ago, neighbours recalled him as uncommunicative.
Ian Mercer, Chris Harper-Mercer's father, spoke to KABC-TV and several other media outlets gathered outside his house in Tarzana, Calif., late Thursday night.
He said it's been a "devastating day" for him and his family and he has been talking to police and the FBI about the shooting.
I will not name the shooter.- Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin
Step-sister Carmen Nesnick told KCBS-TV the shooting didn't make sense.
"All he ever did was put everyone before himself, he wanted everyone to be happy," she said.
Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said at a news conference he was not going to say the shooter's name because that's what he would have wanted.
"I will not name the shooter," he said. "I will not give him the credit he probably sought prior to this horrific and cowardly act."
Roseburg is in Douglas County, a politically conservative region west of the Cascade Range, where people like to hunt and fish and pursue other outdoor activities.
It's no stranger to school gun violence. A freshman at the local high school shot and wounded a fellow student in 2006.
With files from CBC News