Who Is Chris Harper Mercer, The Oregon Shooting Gunman?
Chris Harper Mercer, the man identified as the gunman in the Oregon community college shooting, was reportedly an anxious recluse who was sympathetic to the Irish Republican Army.
Who Is Chris Harper Mercer?
Mercer, 26, was born in England before moving to the United States with his parents as a young boy, according to CBS News. He was predominantly raised in Torrance and Tarzana, Calif., where he was known to have a close relationship with his mother. It is believed that four years ago, Mercer moved with his mother to Oregon, where they lived just over two miles from Umpqua Community College.
Bryan Clay, 18, who was one of Mercer’s neighbor’s in Torrance, said that the would-be gunman wore the same thing everyday and had a habit of avoiding people.”I’d see Chris, shaved head, combat boots, camo pants and a plain brown or white shirt,” Clay told NBC Los Angeles. “He would really just walk really fast, avoid anybody who came towards him.”
Another neighbor, Rosario Lucimi, 51, had similar encounters with Mercer. “He always seemed anxious,” she told the The New York Times, adding, “He and his mother were really close. They were always together.”
As of yet, no motive for Mercer’s shooting rampage – in which he killed nine people and left nine others dead – has been determined. Some survivors have claimed that Mercer was singling out Christians, but Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said that those claims have not yet been confirmed.
“It’s really too early to tell what the motive was,” Hanlin told CNN. Hanlin added to NBC’s Today, “He is a local resident and I know personally I haven’t heard of any warning signs coming from this person.”
Though Mercer seemed to keep a low profile in his day-to-day life, investigators have found that he had a far richer online life, which included a MySpace page that features a picture of him holding what appears to be a rifle. On the page, Mercer made a number of postings that appear to show a sympathy to the Irish Republican Army, a primarily Catholic paramilitary group, which had launched terrorist attacks throughout its history in an attempt to achieve its aim of making Northern Ireland independent from Great Britain.
However, Mercer’s most telling posting on his online blog might be a recent one in which he mused about former local Virginia reporter Vester Flanagan, who shot and killed two of his former coworkers on camera.
“I have noticed that so many people like [Flanagan] are alone and unknown, yet when they spill a little blood, the whole world knows who they are,” Mercer wrote. “A man who was known by no one, is now known by everyone. His face splashed across every screen, his name across the lips of every person on the planet, all in the course of one day. Seems like the more people you kill, the more you’re in the limelight.”
Mercer died on Thursday following a firefight with responding law enforcement officers.