Ten people have been killed and seven injured in a shooting at a college in the US state of Oregon, say police.
The 20-year-old gunman opened fire in a classroom at Umpqua Community College on Thursday morning.
There were conflicting reports on the casualty numbers but Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said the figure of 10 dead was “the best one”.A visibly frustrated President Barack Obama demanded tighter gun laws, saying prayers are “no longer enough”.Such shootings – and his own response – had become routine, he said, barely concealing his exasperation.
“We are not the only country on Earth that has people with mental illnesses or want to do harm to other people.”But we are the only advanced country on Earth that sees these mass shootings every few months.”Referring to a BBC interview in which he talked about this, he said countries like the UK and Australia showed that effective legislation was possible.
The motive of the gunman is not known, although police said they were investigating reports that he had warned of his intentions on social media.Lorie Andrews, who lives opposite the campus, said she heard what sounded like fireworks and when she came out of her home she saw students streaming out.
“One girl came out wrapped in a blanket with blood on her,” she said.
Hannah Miles, 19, said that after hearing gunshots, she and fellow students were locked in a classroom when they heard footsteps.A man’s voice could be heard from outside the door: “Come on out, come on out.” They ignored it and police eventually rescued them, she said.The 3,000-student school is located in Roseburg, Oregon, a rural area about 175 miles (280 km) south of Portland.
Police searched students and their bags after the shooting. More than 100 police officers have responded to the scene of the shooting.In audio from police radio channels an officer can be heard saying the suspect was down and that there were “multiple gunshot wounds” and calling for multiple ambulances to the scene.The suspect supposedly used a “long gun”.
Students were transported by bus to a local fairground to be reunited with their loved ones.
According to Umpqua Community College’s website, the average age of students is about 38.