Gunman Killed in Oregon College Mass Shooting

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ROSEBURG, Oregon — The man who opened fire at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College on Thursday is dead, Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin told reporters.

Nine people were killed and nine wounded in Thursday’s shooting, police and a hospital spokeswoman say. Initially, 10 wounded people were taken to Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg, but one died in an emergency room, hospital spokeswoman Kathleen Nickel said Friday. Three people with gunshot wounds to the head were transferred to PeaceHealth Sacred Heart in Springfield, she said. Three patients who underwent surgery remain at Mercy Medical and three patients were treated and released, she said.

oregon1Officers and the gunman exchanged fire at the Roseburg campus. The shooter was a 20-year-old man, according to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, who ordered flags be flown at half-staff until sunset on Friday.

“It’s been a terrible day,” said Hanlin. “At this point, it’s a very active scene. It’s a very active investigation.”

A law enforcement official told CNN three pistols and one rifle believed to have belonged to the suspect were recovered at the scene.

"We arrived to find multiple patients in multiple classrooms. Law enforcement was on scene and had the shooter neutralized," said Douglas County Fire Marshal Ray Shoufler.

He told CNN that two patients died while being transported to a hospital.

Mercy Medical Center posted on Facebook that it had received 10 patients. The extent of their injuries was not known.

Three female victims were at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield, about 70 miles north of the shooting scene, according to a hospital spokeswoman Thursday afternoon.

The shooting appears to have started in one building before the gunman moved to the school's science building, a source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN. Those killed and wounded were found in at least two classrooms.

ATF agents were on scene and canine teams were en route to search for explosives, fire arms casings and ammunition, a spokesman said. FBI agents were also en route, officials said Thursday.

'I'm so insignificant'

According to the source close to the investigation, authorities are looking at social media posts between a person they believe may have been the shooter, and others.

The conversation happened Wednesday night on 4chan.

In it, the writer talks about planning to carry out a shooting. Others egg him on, giving him suggestions on how to do it, and the type of weapons to use.

The responses are mixed -- with some users characterizing the would-be gunman as a pathetic loser. Others called him a twisted hero.

In the posts, there is a reference to the UC Santa Barbara shooter, who wrote a manifesto and videoed himself before opening fire a year ago.

"This is the only time I'll ever be in the news. I'm so insignificant," reads an apparent post by the would-be Oregon gunman.

Gunman Targeting Christians

The Umpqua gunman targeted Christians specifically, according to the father of a wounded student. After shooting a professor, the gunman asked students one-by-one to stand up, and asked each of them, "Are you a Christian?" This, according to Anastasia Boylan, 18, who relayed the account to her father and brother before she was taken into surgery.

'This is so out of character'

Roseburg is a city of about 22,000 people about 70 miles south of Eugene, Oregon, and some 180 miles south of Portland.

The school itself is up on a hill outside the city center, according to Rick Francona, a CNN military analyst who lives nearby. Francona said that logging is a big industry in the region, which is fairly rural but easily accessible from Interstate 5.

"This is so out of character for this whole area," he said.

News of the shooting quickly reached Washington, with the state's senior senator, Ron Wyden, visibly shaken and Sen. Jeff Merkley tweeting that he was praying for the victims and their families.

U.S. President Barack Obama was briefed on the situation and will continue to receive updates throughout the day.

He pushed for a change in gun laws when he spoke to reporters about the shooting Thursday.

"Our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It's not enough. It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel, and it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America -- next week, or a couple months from now," he said.

'The saddest day'

A picturesque campus in the North Umpqua River Valley, Umpqua Community College prides itself on a "a peaceful, safe atmosphere, and year-round recreational activities," according to its website.

It's not a traditional institution of higher learning, as the average age of its 13,600 students was 38 during the 2013-2014 school year. Only 740 of those were full time, 2,437 were part time and more than 10,000 fell under the umbrella of "community education."

It first began teaching classes out of rented facilities in 1961. Elton and Ruth Jackson donated 98.5 acres to house the campus in 1965.

The school will be closed until Monday as a result of the shooting.

The interim leader of Umpqua Community College called Thursday "the saddest day in the history of the college."