The narrative that the Oregon shooter at Umpqua Community College specifically targeted Christians isn’t holding up to scrutiny. Mercer targeted people at random, and he appears to have told people who said they believed in God, “I’ll see you soon,” as he was also planning to die in the massacre.
One student’s account differs from another student’s account which has become the prevailing story in media versions of the shooting.
The 18-year-old was in the writing class where a killer opened fire Thursday, killing nine at Umpqua Community College in Oregon’s deadliest mass shooting.
McGowan told family members that the gunman didn’t specifically target Christians but asked them about faith. The shooter, apparently planning to die during the massacre, told students: “I’ll see you soon” or “I’ll meet you soon.”
McGowan’s mother, Stephanie Salas, shared her son’s account Friday. The teenager, one of triplet boys, was shot in the right hand and released from Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg.
McGowan heard gunshots before he knew what was happening, his mother said.
The 26-year-old gunman, Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer, told everyone to move toward the center of the room.
“The shooter would call a person: ‘You, stand up,'” Salas said, recalling what her son told her. “And then he would ask them if they were a Christian, knew God, or had religion. And it wasn’t like it was stated on TV. It wasn’t about that he was just trying to pinpoint Christians, no.”
The shooter would tell them it wouldn’t hurt.
“And then he would shoot them,” she said.