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10 killed in Oregon college massacre as shooter likely sought ‘a target of opportunity’
By Steve Bittenbender
Roseburg, Ore. became the latest town in America affected by a mass shooting incident Thursday as a 20-year-old male entered Umpqua Community College and opened fire in multiple classrooms.
According to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, 10 people were killed and seven more were injured, adding on its Twitter feed, it was “the current best information.”
Sheriff’s officials said the incident happened shortly before 10:40 a.m. Pacific time. Police officers from across the county converged on the college, where they engaged the shooter, who is dead. However, it remained uncertain Thursday evening if he was being counted as part of the 10 reported deaths.
Officers then patrolled the rest of the campus, located about 170 miles south of Portland, and found there were no additional threats.
“We have activated the Douglas County Major Crimes Team and have received law enforcement assistance from other jurisdictions all over the state,” the sheriff’s statement said. “This is an active and ongoing investigation.”
Anthony Roman, president of international investigation firm Roman & Associates, said that law enforcement agencies have approached encountering active shooting scenes differently, becoming more proactive in their engagement. That’s being done in an attempt to save more lives.
However, the public also has access to more advanced weaponry that enables them to shoot rounds more quickly. The only way to control that is for elected officials to enact tighter laws on gun ownership.
“If that’s what they choose to do,” Roman said. He then quickly added that he was not advocating for that.
From the information Roman received, the college’s Building 12, which was the first target for the shooter, is adjacent to the school’s main parking lot.
“It appears the shooter sought a target of opportunity, which would be the first available building,” Roman said.
Throughout the day, elected officials from Oregon and across the country released statements expressing grief.
“I am heartbroken by the magnitude of today’s event at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon,” Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said. “In Oregon, we are a family, and today is unspeakably difficult. Our hearts go out to all of the families affected by another senseless gun tragedy. As always, Oregon’s first responders, medical community and law enforcement have stepped up without hesitation to assist.”
President Barack Obama thanked the first responders who worked to save lives, but as his statement continued, he said that thoughts and prayers being offered after the incident aren’t enough.
“Somehow, this has become routine,” he said, adding this is an issue that needs to be politicized. He urged media outlets to investigate the number of American deaths that occurred from terrorism and compare that to the number of gun deaths over the last 10 years.
CNN reported that law enforcement officials retrieved four guns at the scene believed to belong to the gunman.
The college serves nearly 20,000 part- and full-time students at its 99-acre campus, which opened in 1965 – four years after the first courses were offered.