The Oregon gunman who carried out an execution-style massacre at a U.S. college classroom had a cache of 13 weapons, body armor and ammunition, authorities said on Friday, as they sought a motive for the worst US mass shooting this year.
The disclosure of the weapons by Celinex Nunez, assistant special agent of U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Agent came as fresh details emerged about the suspect in Thursday’s rampage at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, about 180 miles south of Portland.
Six of the guns, plus body armor and five magazines of ammunition, were recovered from the campus where the gunman stormed into a classroom, killing nine people before he was shot dead by police, Nunez said at a press conference.
Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin declined to name the gunman, saying, “Again, you will not hear anyone from this law enforcement operation use his name. I continue to believe that those media and community members who publicize his name will only glorify his horrific actions. And eventually, this will only serve to inspire future shooter.”
Watch video: President Obama addresses Oregon shooting
Law enforcement sources confirmed reports identifying the suspect as Chris Harper-Mercer, 26.
The gunman shot a professor and then ordered cowering students to stand up and state their religion before he shot them one by one, according to survivors’ accounts.
Another seven guns were found at the apartment he shared with his mother in nearby Winchester, about 170 miles (273 km) south of Portland, according to Nunez.
Although authorities have disclosed scant information about the gunman, they appeared to be learning more about him and why he might have opened fire.
The shooter left behind a “multipage, hated-filled” statement in the classroom, according to a tweet from an NBC reporter, citing multiple law enforcement sources who were not identified. CNN said the statement showed animosity toward blacks, citing sources.
Hanlin declined to comment when asked about the writings at a press conference.
Harper-Mercer, who identified himself on a blog post as “mixed race,” enlisted in the U.S. Army and served for about a month in 2008 before being discharged for failing to meet administrative standards, military records showed.