Thursday 19 September 2019

At least 13 shot dead in new mass killing at US college

Police search students outside Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, USA, after the shooting
Police search students outside Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, USA, after the shooting

Alan Martin

A gunman attacked a college in Oregon yesterday, killing at least 13 people in the latest mass shooting to shock America.

The man, reportedly in his late 20s, attacked a science classroom at the Umpqua Community College in Roseburg with an automatic weapon.

He then moved from classroom to classroom, killing victims in different rooms in an attack that one witness said lasted a full minute. The attacker was himself then shot dead at the scene.

The gunman reportedly stated his intentions - and a warning - on Twitter earlier in the morning before the attack. Police scanner radio indicated that a gunfight had taken place between the attacker and officers.

At least 20 other people were seriously injured in the shooting at the college of 3,000 pupils in a rural area of Oregon, 180 miles south of Portland.

The average age of students at the college is 38, with several part-time courses catering largely for adult education.

The gunman was killed in a joint operation by police and fire officials, who were called at 10.40am local time.

"We went classroom-by-classroom to cordon off the area," said Ray Shoufler, a fire department official.

"The shooter has been neutralised. We have multiple patients deceased and multiple patients transported. Police are on scene and the campus has been evacuated.

He added that it was a "very close-knit area - everyone knows everyone".

Students reacted to the attack with horror on social media.

Kayla Marie, who is thought to be a student at the college, said on Twitter during the attack: "Oh my God, there's someone shooting on campus. Students are running everywhere. Holy God."

She later wrote: "I'm OK. Physically. We're being bussed off campus."

Endi Hartigan, a spokesman for the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission. said yesterday: "It's extremely concerning and sad."

David Jacques, a local journalist, said: "All the students have been evacuated and taken away from the site, which is totally cordoned off. We have been informed that the number of casualties may go up."

Ron Wyden, a senator for Oregon said: "Oregonians everywhere want Roseburg to know we're praying for them."

Mass shootings - particularly in schools - have become a frequent occurrence in America.

The Umpqua Community College shooting is the second on a campus in Oregon in just over a year.

In June 2014, Jared Michael Padgett, a 15-year-old student, went into the changing room at Reynolds High School in Troutdale - 187 miles from Umpqua - and killed another pupil, aged 14.

The country's worst mass school shooting happened in December 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Adam Lanza, a 20-year-old with behavioural disorders, shot dead 20 children all aged between six and seven years old, and six female members of staff. He then shot himself in the head and was pronounced dead at the scene.

US President Barack Obama has repeatedly attempted to tackle America's gun violence, but has consistently been blocked by the country's powerful gun lobby and his Republican opponents in Congress.

He said in July the biggest frustration of his presidency has been his failure to pass laws tackling America's gun problem. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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