Chris Harper-Mercer, the shooter behind the deadly rampage at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, gave an envelope with a flash drive to a student whom he spared, an Oregon pastor said Sunday. The student had to reportedly watch as the shooter killed his classmates Thursday.
Randy Scroggins’ daughter Lacey, who survived the shooting, told him that the gunman handed an envelope to another student, 18-year-old Mathew Downing, and asked him to give it to police, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Scroggins’ comments came as he spoke at his church about the shooting that killed nine people and injured several others. Downing, who also survived shooting, was seated next to Lacey at Sunday's service.
A law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, previously told AP that a "manifesto" from Harper-Mercer was recovered at the scene. However, details about the contents of the envelope have not been revealed.
"You're the lucky one. You're not going to die today," Harper-Mercer told Downing, Scroggins quoted his daughter as saying.
Scroggins told AP that the gunman had told Downing to "go to the back of the room and sit down, facing all of us, and you're gonna watch.” Scroggins reportedly spoke with Downing’s mother, Summer Smith, after Sunday service at New Beginnings Church of God in Roseburg, where he described how his daughter survived the shooting.
The medical examiner's report Saturday ruled that the gunman committed suicide soon after officers arrived on the scene and exchanged fire with him. Harper-Mercer was heavily armed and had a flak jacket on or nearby during the attack. Investigators have so far seized 14 guns that were either with him or recovered from his home in an apartment complex about a mile from campus.
"Someone asked me, 'Can you forgive the shooter?'" Scroggins told his congregation Sunday, according to ABC News. "I don't focus on the man. I focus on the evil that was in the man."
Since the shooting Thursday, accounts of Harper-Mercer’s personal life that have emerged indicate he struggled with mental illness and also admired Vester Lee Flanagan, the gunman who killed news anchor Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward during a live morning news broadcast in late August.