Oregon’s top federal prosecutor said he and other government officials have heard rumors of "some sort of race-related manifesto" connected with Thursday's gunman, the Oregonian reported Friday. Speculation that the shooter, 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer, was motivated by hate have gained traction since witnesses have reported that they heard Mercer ask victims about their religion, specifically targeting Christians in a classroom.
“He appears to be an angry young man who was very filled with hate,” a law enforcement official told the New York Times.
The official motive of the shooting remained unknown Friday morning, as investigators began meeting people who knew Mercer. The shooting at Umpqua Community College left at least 10 people dead and injured seven others at the southwest Oregon campus. Mercer was killed in a firefight with law enforcement.
Little is known about Mercer, but relatives described the gunman, who reportedly lived with his mother, as quiet. Mercer carried with him three handguns, one rifle and body armor.
Oregon shooting: Gunman dead after college rampage, targeted Christians http://t.co/hVfoeVRXA6
— Jason Wermers (@JasonWermers) October 2, 2015
— Intl. Business Times (@IBTimes) October 1, 2015
Federal law enforcement officers are investigating comments made anonymously online that may have been linked to Thursday’s shooting. One commenter on the message board 4chan seemed to foreshadow the shooting rampage, writing shortly after midnight Thursday: "Some of you guys are alright. Don't go to school tomorrow if you are in the northwest. So long space robots."
The shooting has unleashed a protracted debate over gun violence and regulations in the country. President Barack Obama called for sensible gun laws following the incident Thursday.
“As I said just a few months ago, and I said a few months before that, and I said each time we see one of these mass shootings, our thoughts and prayers are not enough,” he said. “It's not enough.”