Gunman kills 13 at Oregon college

Posted at 6:08 PM, Oct 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-01 18:08:12-04

ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) -- A gunman opened fire at an Oregon community college Thursday, killing at least a dozen people before dying during a shootout with police, authorities said.

The shooting happened at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, about 180 miles south of Portland.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said 13 people are dead. It was not immediately clear whether that number also included the 20-year-old gunman.

State police Lt. Bill Fugate told KATU-TV that at least 20 others were hurt.

Authorities offered no immediate word on the gunman's motive and said they were investigating.

Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said the gunman was killed in an exchange of gunfire with officers. The sheriff did not say whether the shooter was killed by officers or took his own life.

"We locked our door, and I went out to lock up the restrooms and could hear four shots from the front of campus," UCC Foundation Executive Director Dennis O'Neill told the Roseburg News-Review.

A photographer for the newspaper said he saw people being loaded into multiple ambulances and taken to the local hospital.

The school has about 3,000 students. Its website was down Thursday, and a phone message left at the college was not immediately returned.

Neither state police nor the sheriff's office returned calls from The Associated Press seeking details.

The sheriff's office reported on Twitter that it received a call about the shooting at 10:38 a.m. The local fire district advised people via Twitter to stay away from the school.

Later in the day, students and faculty members were being bused to the county fairgrounds, the sheriff's office said.

Former UCC President Joe Olson, who retired in June after four years, said the school had no formal security staff, just one officer on a shift.

One of the biggest debates on campus last year was whether to post armed security officers on campus to respond to a shooting.

"I suspect this is going to start a discussion across the country about how community colleges prepare themselves for events like this," he said.

The White House said President Barack Obama was briefed on the situation by Homeland Security Adviser Lisa Monaco. He was to continue receiving updates throughout the day.

The rural town of Roseburg lies west of the Cascade Mountains in an area where the timber industry has struggled. In recent years, officials have tried to promote the region as a tourist destination for vineyards and outdoor activities.