UPDATE 5:15 p.m. EDT: The father of Oregon gunman Chris Harper-Mercer said his son apparently had some kind of mental issue. In an interview with CNN, Ian Mercer also wondered "how on earth" his son could have amassed so many weapons, Reuters reported.
The alleged gunman who killed nine classmates and wounded nine more in a shooting at a community college in Oregon Thursday committed suicide soon after officers arrived on the scene and exchanged fire with him, authorities said Saturday. "The medical examiner has determined cause of the death of the shooter is suicide," Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin told a news conference.
Hanlin has declined to use Mercer's name in any public statements to deny him any attention for the act. Chris Harper Mercer, 26, opened fire on his classmates in an English course at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, around 10:30 a.m. Thursday.
Within five minutes, police and a state troopers arrived on the scene. Two minutes later, they exchanged fire with Mercer and two minutes after that, they radioed “shooter down” to dispatch, according to a timeline posted to the sheriff’s office Twitter account.
#UCCShooting Officer Involved Shooting Investigation: Medical Examiner has determined the cause of death of the shooter to be suicide.
— Douglas Co Sheriff (@DouglasCoSO) October 3, 2015
Accounts of Mercer’s personal life that have emerged since the shooting indicate he has struggled with mental illness and admired Vester Lee Flanagan, the gunman who killed a news anchor and cameraman during a live morning news broadcast in August.
On Friday, the sheriff's office released the names of Mercer's victims. They ranged in age from 18 to 67-year-old Lawrence Levine who taught the class.
Mercer was heavily armed and had a flak jacket on or nearby during the attack. Investigators so far have seized 14 guns that were either with him or recovered from his home in an apartment complex about a mile from campus. Classes remain closed this week at the college.