Oregon gunman 'singled out Christians' during 294th US mass shooting this year

(Photo Credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts)Pam Bosley (C), whose son Terrell was killed in a shooting, wipes her eye as she stands with family members and victims of mass shootings during a news conference by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence calling on Congress to address gun violence on Capitol Hill in Washington December 18, 2012.

Residents of a the quiet Oregon town that faced the carnage left by the latest U.S. mass shooting are still searching for why the young gunman killed nine people in a college classroom before he died after exchanging gunfire with police.

Some said the gunman, believed to have been born in Britain, but raised in the United States, expressed sympathies to the Irish Republican Army.

The gunman was named as 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer and reportedly born in England before moving to the United States whose social media MySpace profile featured content supporting the IRA, reported The Irish Times.

But the father of a wounded student said the gunman who opened fire at Oregon's Umpqua Community College, singled out Christians.

Anastasia Boylan told her father before she entered the theater for spinal surgery that the gunman entered her classroom firing, CNN reported.

"I've been waiting to do this for years," the gunman told the professor teaching the class before shooting his at point blank range, Boylan recounted.

While reloading his handgun, the gunman ordered the students to stand up and asked if they were Christians, Boylan told her family.

"And they would stand up and he said, 'Good, because you're a Christian, you're going to see God in just about one second,'" Boylan's father, Stacy, told CNN, relaying her account.


Officials said that nine victims were killed, plus the gunman, and seven injured during the mass shooting, was the 294th this year in the Unites States on the 274th day of the year, The Washington Post reported.

The Post cited the Mass Shooting Tracker which says mass shootings occur when four or more people are killed or injured by gunfire.

President Barack Obama challenged Americans across the political spectrum to press their elected leaders to enact tougher firearms-safety laws.

He blasted the National Rifle Association gun lobby for blocking reforms to laws governing the availability of weapons and deplored how common mass shootings had become.

"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," said Obama.

"It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel. And it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America next week or a couple of months from now."

The president said, "Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here, at this podium, ends up being routine. We've become numb to this."

But Pastor Ron Laeger, leader of the Wellspring Bible Fellowship in Oregon, told the BBC breakfast he thought arming students was the answer, Christian Today reported, reflecting the problems Obama faces in persuading American to opt for more gun control.

"Had students had those weapons they could have fought back and protected themselves," Laeger said.

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