Jason Johnson, one of the victims of the Oregon college shooting, had a bright future. Though he struggled with drug abuse in past years, Johnson was looking forward to his life as a student, his mother Tonja Johnson Engel told NBC News Friday.
Johnson, 33, was “so proud of what he had accomplished,” his mother said. He had finished his first week as a student at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg. “The other day he looked at me and hugged me and said, 'Mom, how long have you been waiting for one of your kids to go to college?' And I said, 'Oh, about 20 years,'" she told NBC News.
Johnson had completed a six-month rehab program with the Salvation Army in Portland. He wanted to change his life. "He came back home and said he was going back to school," family friend Donald Noble said. "He just started, and then this happened."
The last thing Johnson told his mother was, “I’ll see you this afternoon,” but that never happened. Suspected gunman Chris Harper Mercer opened fire on the campus and reportedly killed Johnson, along with several others.
Johnson's mother called him when she heard about the shooting and became worried when he didn’t answer. "I had a bad feeling about it," Johnson Engel said.
Ten people, including the suspected shooter, were killed Thursday. Authorities did not immediately name the deceased.
One name that did emerge from the tragedy was Chris Mintz, an Army veteran who reportedly stood in the doorway as the gunman fired shots. Mintz suffered two broken legs, but is expected to recover. Nearly $100,000 has been donated to Mintz’s medical bills through a GoFundMe page. Its creator, Mintz’s cousin, had asked for only $10,000.
A definite motive for the shooting has not been revealed, but there are some reports that claim the gunman singled out Christians. He reportedly asked people to state their religion. If they said Christian, they were shot.
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