Following a reported deadly mass shooting on Thursday at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, the suspect has been identified and President Obama has begun to call for more gun control.
The suspect has been identified as 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer. Police reported that at least nine people were killed and seven others wounded before the suspect was killed in a shootout with police. Three pistols and an AR-style rifle were reportedly discovered at the scene.
The New York Times described Mercer as a “recluse” and a “withdrawn young man” who lived with this mother. Rosario Espinoza, a former neighbor, told the Times that Mercer’s mother would often complain that Espinoza’s children were playing too loudly and bothering her son.
Another neighbor, Julia Winstead, told the Times that at one point Mercer’s mother went around the neighborhood with a petition asking the landlord to exterminate cockroaches in her apartment because they bothered her son.
“She said, ‘My son is dealing with some mental issues, and the roaches are really irritating him,’” Winstead said. “She said they were going to go stay in a motel. Until that time, I didn’t know she had a son.”
Hours after the shooting, President Obama held a press conference where he said that he believes gun violence is “something we should politicize.”
“We are not the only country on Earth that has people with mental illnesses who want to do harm to other people,” Obama said. “We are the only country on Earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every few months.”
Obama went on to criticize opponents of gun control, and said that “what has become routine is the response of those who oppose any kind of common sense gun legislation.”
“Each time this happens I’m going to bring this up,” Obama said. “Each time this happens I am going to say we can actually do something about it.”