PORTLAND, Ore. — The mother of a gunman who killed nine people and himself at an Oregon community college allowed her troubled son to have guns and acknowledged in online posts that he struggled with autism, but she didn’t seem to know he was potentially violent.
The online writings by Laurel Harper date from a year ago to nine years ago and offer fresh insight into the gunman, 26-year-old Christopher Harper Mercer, and his relationship with his mother.
The Associated Press didn’t speak with Harper about the online postings; a knock on her door went unanswered Tuesday, and her phone’s voice-mail box was full. However, the postings included an e-mail address that is linked to Harper.
She and Mercer shared an apartment outside Roseburg, Ore. Investigators have recovered 14 firearms: six found at Umpqua Community College, where the killings occurred, and eight at the apartment. Neighbors of the mother and son in California, where they lived before moving to Oregon in 2013, have said the two went target shooting together.
In her online postings, Laurel Harper talked about her love of guns and her son’s emotional troubles.
“I keep two full mags in my Glock case. And the ARs & AKs all have loaded mags. No one will be ‘dropping’ by my house uninvited without acknowledgement,” reads a 3-year-old posting.
She was referring to a Glock handgun and to military-style rifles.
Laurel Harper, in another posting, complained about gun-control efforts in “lame states.”
She posted several times that her son had Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism.
One posting reads: “He’s no babbling idiot nor is his life worthless. He’s very intelligent and is working on a career in filmmaking.”
She wrote that she read aloud to her unborn son from Donald Trump’s “The Art of the Deal.”
Mercer’s parents divorced when he was a teenager, and he lived with his mother.
Mercer’s father, Ian Mercer, still lives in California. Over the weekend, he said he had no idea his son had any guns.
“How on earth could he compile 13 guns? How could that happen?” Ian Mercer told CNN on Saturday.