Victims' Parents Say Oregon Gunman Singled Out One Student to Give Note for the Police, Called Him the 'Lucky One'
The gunman responsible for Thursday's tragic shooting in Roseburg, Oregon, reportedly gave one student his suicide note to deliver to authorities
Parents of some of the surviving victims of Thursday’s devastating mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, said the gunman responsible spared one student’s life after giving him a note for the authorities.
Stephanie Salas, the mother of victim Rand McGowan, who was shot in the hand, told PEOPLE that gunman Chris Harper-Mercer picked a student to give the police a note.
“He pointed to one student and handed that student a suicide note and then the gunman blew his [own] head off,” she said.
Harper-Mercer killed nine people and wounded nine more in the attack, before dying. Authorities said in a press conference on Saturday that the medical examiner had ruled his death a suicide, but that the Oregon State Police are still investigating it as an officer-involved shooting.
Bonnie Schaan, the mother of the youngest shooting victim, Cheyenne Fitzgerald, echoed Salas’ story.
Schaan told PEOPLE that Harper-Mercer asked Fitzgerald’s religion, but she did not answer him. She said Fitzgerald, 16, also saw the gunman hand an envelope to a male student, telling him he would be the “lucky one” to deliver the message.
Pastor Randy Scroggins, father of 18-year-old survivor Lacey, told the Associated Press that his daughter said the gunman called to the aforementioned student and said “‘Don’t worry, you’re the one who is going to survive.’ ”
Scroggins said Lacey heard Harper-Mercer tell the student “all the information that you’ll need” was in his backpack, and to “give it to the police.”
Lacey also told her father that she heard the shooter tell one victim he would spare their life if they begged, but then shot the student anyway.
Authorities have not yet disclosed whether they received an envelope or package from Harper-Mercer, but one law enforcement official did reveal that a manifesto of several pages had been recovered.
During a Saturday press conference, Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said over 45 fire and EMS responders, five chief officers, four fire engine companies and 10 paramedic ambulances responded to the incident.
Authorities have yet established a motive.
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