A law enforcement official has identified the Umpqua Community College gunman as Chris Harper Mercer. Here's what we know about him so far. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

Updated at 2:23 a.m. EDT

There are more reports, albeit second hand, indicating that the shooter at Umpqua Community College asked students about their religion before opening fire.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Ana Boylan, a student who was shot in the back, told her grandmother from her hospital bed that as she lay wounded, the gunman asked people to rise and state their religion. “If they said they were Christians, they were shot again,” the grandmother, Janet Willis, told the Times.

“And they would stand up and he said, ‘Good, because you’re a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second,'” Boylan’s father, Stacy, told CNN, relaying her account. “And then he shot and killed them. And he kept going down the line doing this.”

Kortney Moore, 18, a student in the writing class where the shootings occurred, told the News-Review Today in Roseburg, Ore., that the shooter told people to get on the ground, and then asked people to stand up and state their religion and then began firing.

David Jaques, publisher of the Roseburg Beacon News, told Fox News “We have a text from allegedly one of the students who was in the room at the time. And it reads as follows: ‘The shooter was lining people up and asking if they were Christian. If they said yes, then they were shot in the head. If they said no or didn’t answer, they were shot in the legs.'”

Another account came from Autumn Vican, who described to NBC News what her brother J.J. witnessed in the room where the shootings occurred. According to NBC:

“Vicari said at one point the shooter told people to stand up before asking whether they were Christian or not. Vicari’s brother told her that anyone who responded ‘yes’ was shot in the head. If they said ‘other’ or didn’t answer, they were shot elsewhere in the body, usually the leg.”

[Nine victims and gunman dead in mass shooting at Ore. community college]


Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said at a news conference Thursday night that he would not personally utter the name of the shooter and urged the media to follow his example. “I will not name the shooter,” he said. “I will not give him credit for this horrific act of cowardice. Media will get the name confirmed in time … but you will never hear us use it.”

“We would encourage the media and community to avoid using it,” he added, “repeating it, or engaging in any glorification and sensationationization of him. He in no way deserves it. Focus your attention on the victims and their familes and helping them to recover.”

A U.S. law enforcement official identified the gunman as 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer of Winchester, Ore.

The sheriff’s full statement is posted on Douglas County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page. 

[Nine people killed in mass shooting at Oregon community college