PORTLAND, Ore. (CNS) — St. Joseph Parish in Roseburg hosted an emotional Mass the evening of Oct. 1 for 10 people who died in a shooting that morning at Umpqua Community College. Auxiliary Bishop Peter Smith traveled from Portland for the liturgy. Authorities in Roseburg, in green rolling hills 180 miles south of Portland, identified the shooter Oct. 2 as 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer. The names of those he fatally shot had not yet been released. Nine others were wounded. FBI investigators say the gunman brought six legally purchased weapons to the small college and was wearing a flak jacket.
A witness told news organizations that Mercer 26, told people in classrooms to stand up and declare whether they were Christian. If they responded yes, they were shot in the head. If they answered no or gave some other answer, they were shot elsewhere. The attack ended when the gunman shot himself on campus. Portland Archbishop Alexander K. Sample rushed a letter to the people of Rosenburg hours after the shooting. “I am saddened beyond words over the tragedy that has struck your local community…We are one body in Christ, and when even one member suffers, we all suffer with them. My heart is indeed very heavy with sorrow as I grieve with all of you.”