The residents of Roseburg, Oregon remain stunned five days after a gunman killed 10 people at Umpqua Community College. On Sunday, many attended Church services to mourn the fallen.
It is not just the unnecessary lose of life that has shaken the community and the country at large. It is also the disturbing details that are now coming to light.
After opening fire on students in his writing class, the killer- who shall not be named– exchanged shots with police officers, and then finally took his own life.
On Thursday, the killer stormed into class and shot the professor at point-blank range. The other students were told to lie facedown on the ground as he walked slowly through the room, gun raised. He picked off the students one by one. But not before asking each of his classmates what their religion was, if they were Christians.
One student he did not shoot. According to a young woman, Cheyeanne Fitzgerald, 16, the gunman handed an envelope to one of the male students in the class. This man was not shot.
“He told everybody else to go to the middle of the room and lay down,” said Bonnie Schaan, Cheyeanne’s mother. “He called the one guy, gave him the envelope and told him to go to the corner of the classroom because obviously he was going to be the one that was going to be telling the story.”
Cheyeanne was shot in the back but luckily survived the attack. All told, nine people were left wounded, three in critical condition.
“She’s starting to really remember the events of what happened,” the teenager’s aunt, Colleen Fitzgerald. “She was asked what her religion was and didn’t say anything.”
The shooter was new to town, arriving in 2013, and mostly kept to himself- a rather difficult feat in a town of about 20,000 people. His neighbors rarely saw him, some had to be shown his picture to remember who he was. The same is true with the students at the college- few knew him. Those that could recall meeting him said that he was awkward and slow to respond.
A search of the killer’s apartment, which he shared with his mother, revealed a at least eight weapons. The gunman had carried six firearms, ammunition, and body armor on the day of the killings.
Asked about what this disturbed man’s motives could possibly be, the authorities admit that they know very little. There is rumor that he left behind racist writings but the FBI has so far declined to comment on the details of an open investigation.
The shooter is believed have attended army boot camp but flunked out in 2008. He is also suspected to have studied mass murders for pleasure. He was especially interested in the Irish Republican Army.
One email as surfaced, allegedly sent from the shooter’s account, that was written shortly after the two Virginia reporters were shot on live TV in August.
“I have noticed that so many people like him [the Virginia shooter] are all alone and unknown, yet when they spill a little blood, the whole world knows who they are,” read the email.
“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.”
The Roseburg community has called on all those who cover this story for the media to refrain from using the shooters name and from posting his picture.
“You will never hear me say his name,” said Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin, a strong backer of the #dontsayhisname campaign.
“I don’t really want to know anything about him at all,” said Dylan Knapp, a friend of the slain students Lucero Alcaraz and Lucas Eibel.
“I know that all that stuff is gonna come out and that people will have their theories on why he did it, but I myself have no desire to know anything about him. I want to know more about the victims.”