Friday 28 October 2016

Oregon shooter's manifesto reveals anger at not having a girlfriend

Published 06/10/2015 | 07:10

An image from the myspace page of gunman Christopher Harper-Mercer
An image from the myspace page of gunman Christopher Harper-Mercer
EMPATHY IN ACTION: People take part in candlelight vigil following the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon
Memorial flowers are seen outside Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, United States, October 2, 2015. Reuters/Lucy Nicholson
A woman cries while holding her daughter during a vigil in Roseburg, Oregon

The British-born gunman who murdered nine people at an Oregon community college before killing himself ranted about not having a girlfriend and thinking everyone else was "crazy", a source close to the investigation has said.

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The law enforcement source, who is familiar with the case, also said the mother of Christopher Harper-Mercer, 26, told investigators he was struggling with some mental health issues.

Harper-Mercer complained in a manifesto he left behind about not having a girlfriend and seemed to feel like he was very rational while others around him were not, the official said.

In the manifesto, a couple of pages long, h e wrote something to the effect of: "Other people think I'm crazy, but I'm not. I'm the sane one," the official said.

Meanwhile some staff and students returned to the Umpqua Community College campus in Roseburg for the first time since the shooting last Thursday and US president Barack Obama announced he would travel to Oregon on Friday to visit meet victims' families as he opens a four-day trip to the West Coast.

Mr Obama has renewed his call for stricter gun laws following the shooting and has expressed exasperation at the frequency of mass shootings in the US.

Classes do not resume until next week, but some students came to the campus to pick up belongings they left behind when they fled. Others met professional groups to discuss their trauma and grief.

A memorial was growing on the driveway leading to Snyder Hall, where Harper-Mercer opened fire. Besides those who died, nine people were wounded.

He apparently demanded to know his victims' religious beliefs before opening fire on the campus and killed himself after a shoot-out with police.

Carmen Nesnick, Harper-Mercer's stepsister, has said he was born in the UK and travelled to the United States as a young boy.

A group of eight held hands and bowed their heads in prayer in front of the building. Elsewhere, clusters of people chatted at picnic tables or near buildings.

In a courtyard near the centre of the campus, a therapy dog sat on a blanket with its handler. A woman, crouched down, wiped away a tear.

At least one student injured in the shooting was among those who returned, college president Rita Cavin said.

Reporters were barred from campus but taken on a brief tour. School officials designated an outdoor amphitheatre as a makeshift memorial, open only to staff and students for now. Flowers and balloons were positioned on tables, and markers were available for people to write messages on a banner that said "UCC Strong".

Chaplains who had been on campus said they were both helping with and participating in the healing process.

Meanwhile an emotional Alek Skarlatos returned to US TV's Dancing With The Stars to honour his home town of Roseburg, calling the killings harder to comprehend than the attack he helped stop in France.

Mr Skarlatos, whose heroics on a French train in August led to an invitation from ABC's dance contest, was rehearsing in Los Angeles instead of attending Umpqua college when the massacre took place.

He quickly headed to Roseburg after learning of the tragedy.

"It's honestly the strangest emotion I ever felt," he said in a pre-taped segment that was broadcast on Monday's show. "Even the train made more sense than this does. There's nothing you can do."

He said his heart was with the people of Roseburg and he hoped to "do them proud" on the dance floor. He and partner Lindsay Arnold drew praise from the show's judges after their performance.

"It must be incredibly hard to perform with such emotional turmoil," said panelist Bruno Tonioli, adding: "Well done."

In a segment taped before the Roseburg shooting, Mr Skarlatos had chosen 2015 as his year to remember.

The army national guardsman and two friends, airman Spencer Stone and Anthony Sadler, were travelling together when they thwarted the attack on a Paris-bound train from Amsterdam via Brussels.

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