Law enforcement officials identified the gunman Thursday night as Chris Harper Mercer, and said he had three weapons, at least one of them a long gun and the other ones handguns. It was not clear whether he fired them all. The officials said the man lived in the Roseburg area.
They said one witness had told them that Mr. Mercer had asked about people’s religions before he began firing. “He appears to be an angry young man who was very filled with hate,” one law enforcement official said. Investigators are poring over what one official described as “hateful” writings by Mr. Mercer. The F.B.I. has dispatched dozens of agents to assist in the investigation.
Sheriff Hanlin said at a news conference that he would not speak the gunman’s name.
“Let me be very clear, 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.”
He also encouraged reporters “not to glorify and create sensationalism for him. He in no way deserves it.”
The massacre added the community college to a string of schools that have been left grieving after mass shootings, a list that runs from Columbine High School in 1999 to Virginia Tech in 2007 to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children were killed in 2012.
President Obama, in an impassioned appearance at the White House, said that grief was not enough, and he implored Americans, “whether they are Democrats or Republicans or independents,” to consider their representatives’ stance on gun control when they voted and to decide “whether this cause of continuing death for innocent people should be a relevant factor.”
State and local officials all expressed shock. Gov. Kate Brown said at a news conference that she felt “profound dismay and heartbreak.”
The first reports of shots came at 10:38 a.m. on what was the fourth day of the new session. Students said they took place in Classroom 15 in a building called Snyder that houses many English and writing classes.
Cassandra Welding, a 20-year-old junior, was in Classroom 16, next to the shooting, and heard several loud bursts, like balloons popping. There were about 20 people in the classroom. A middle-aged woman behind her rose to shut the classroom door and was struck in the stomach by several bullets.