10 die in US college shooting, religious intolerance suspected
San Francisco, Oct 2 (IANS) At least 10 people, including the gunman, were killed and seven injured in a shooting at a college in the US state of Oregon on Thursday, police said.
The gunman identified as 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer, opened fire at the Community College campus in Oregon before having an exchange of fire with police, Xinhua news agency reported.
According to Douglas county Sheriff John Hanlin, 10 dead and another seven injured is the “best, most accurate information we have at this time”.
According to news reports, four guns were recovered at the scene. The White House responded with a call for “common sense gun control” measures.
Ray Shoufler, a fire marshal of Douglas county, said the shooting, as well as casualties, took place within classrooms at the two-year school with some 3,300 full-time students.
Witnesses said the gunman started shooting at the science building and moved into other buildings methodically.
Kortney Moore, 18, said she was in class when a gunshot came through the window and struck her teacher in the head.
Moore said Mercer then entered the classroom and told people to get on the ground. He asked them to stand up and state their religion before he started shooting.
Stacy Boylan, whose daughter was injured in the shooting, told CNN the gunman ordered students to stand up if they were Christian and then shot them.
“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 said.
Cassandra Welding, a student, said she was in her class when she heard 35 to 40 shots coming from an adjacent room.
Religious and racial intolerance has been on of the reasons that possibly led to several shootings in the US in recent years.
On June 17, 2015, a white man opened fire in a historic black church, in Charleston, South Carolina, killing nine people, including a pastor, during a prayer meeting. The suspect was arrested the next day for what authorities called a hate crime.
The massacre in the Oregon college is the latest in a series of mass shootings at US schools, movie theatres, military bases and churches in recent years.