Kingsley Kanayo | Lagos
Nine people have been killed and seven injured in a shooting at a college in the US state of Oregon, say police.
The gunman, identified by local officials as Chris Harper Mercer, 26, opened fire after walking into the city’s Umpqua Community College, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
The office said it received a 911 call about the shooting at 10:38 a.m. local time. Officers located the gunman in a building and exchanged gunfire with him, according to Sheriff John Hanlin, and the shooter was killed.
“It’s been a terrible day,” Hanlin said.
Witnesses say the shooter was wearing body amour, reports CNN, while four guns, including three pistols and one long gun, as well as a large amount of ammunition, were recovered from the scene.
The chaos of the shooting brought conflicting reports of the casualties. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum previously said there were 13 people killed and 20 people injured.
Hanlin said Thursday night that his office would likely not release the identity of the shooter and the victims for at least another 24 to 48 hours.
The gunman was reportedly born in the UK and moved to the US as a young boy.
A man identified as the gunman’s father, Ian Mercer, told US media he was “just as shocked as everybody” by his son’s actions.
The killer’s motive is not known, although police said they were investigating reports that he had warned of his intentions on social media.
Hours after the attack, in which seven were also injured, a visibly frustrated President Barack Obama demanded tighter gun laws, saying prayers are “no longer enough”.
Additional Sources: CNN, TIME