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Pic of the week: Community in mourning after massacre

By Kerry McKittrick

Published 03/10/2015

Our picture of the week
Our picture of the week

A woman cuddles her daughter as they attend a candlelit vigil in Roseburg, Oregon, on Thursday night.

The vigil was in tribute to those killed and injured when a man opened fire at the Umpqua Community College campus. Nine people died and seven were wounded. More than 2,000 members of the local community gathered in Stewart Park to pay their respects.

The hymn Amazing Grace was played over loudspeakers. The initials of the college - UCC - were spelt out by candles in the dark.

College president, Rita Calvin, appealed to any of the college's students in the crowd to deal with their anger at the shooting, so the community could come together in support of one another.

That evening, President Barack Obama gave a speech condemning the shooting - his 15th after such an event during his time as President. Obama was visibly angry as he called for tougher gun laws while speaking at the White House.

Chris Harper-Mercer (26) killed nine people when he opened fire. Seven others were injured, before Harper-Mercer was shot while exchanging gunfire with police. According to witnesses, Harper-Mercer entered a classroom and shot a professor dead at point-blank range. He then proceeded to ask students their religion before shooting those that answered Christian one by one. Some students only survived the ordeal by playing dead.

It's been revealed that Harper-Mercer wore body armour during the shooting and carried three handguns and a rifle.

Blog posts and internet comments made by the killer have shown his idolisation of the IRA and of the Nazis - going so far as to collect Nazi memorabilia online.

Harper-Mercer's own family, including his British father, Ian Mercer, who now lives in California, have expressed their shock at Thursday's events.

Mr Mercer made a statement on Thursday night describing the family's "devastation", but refused to answer questions from the media.

Belfast Telegraph

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