Religion may have been a motivating factor for Chris Harper Mercer, the 26-year-old shooter who killed at least 1o people and wounded seven others Thursday at a community college in Roseburg, Oregon, the New York Times reported. The suspect, who was later killed by police, reportedly asked about people's religion before opening fire at Umpqua Community College, one witness said.
Mercer reportedly had four weapons -- three handguns and one rifle, according to reports. It was not known whether he used all of the firearms in the attack.
Law enforcement officers confirmed that Mercer was killed in an exchange of gunfire with police. He lived in the Roseburg area, but did not attend the college.
“He appears to be an angry young man who was very filled with hate,” one law enforcement official told the New York Times.
UCC student Kortney Moore, 18, said the shooter asked students to state their religion after entering a writing class in Snyder Hall. Moore "saw her teacher get shot in the head," the News-Review of Roseburg reported. Moore said the shooter was inside at that point, and he told people to get on the floor, the paper reported. Moore then said he asked people to stand up and state their religion and then started firing, the report said.
The identities of the victims have not been released.
The massacre was the latest in a long series of mass shootings in the United States in recent years -- at college campuses, shopping malls, theaters, military bases and churches across the country. President Barack Obama delivered an address Thursday night from the White House, in which he said the country had "become numb" to such horrors.
"I hope and pray that I don't have to come out again during my tenure as president to offer my condolences to families in these circumstances," Obama said. "But based on my experience as president, I can't guarantee that. And that's terrible to say. And it can change."