Police have identified the gunman who killed 10 people at an Umpqua Community College in Oregon on Thursday as Chris Harper Mercer.
A MySpace account belonging to Christopher Harper Mercer is registered to Torrance, California. Mercer and his mother previously lived in Torrance before moving to an apartment in Winchester, Oregon, which police later searched.
An online dating profile, linked to Mercer’s email address and featuring another photo of him, says the 26-year-old was living with his parents and searching for the “yin to my yang.” It identifies his views as “conservative, republican” and lists “organized religion” as one of his “dislikes.”
According to a student at Umpqua, Mercer demanded to know his victims’ religion before killing them.
Anastasia Boylan, who was shot multiple times, spoke to her father before entering spinal surgery. Boyland's father, Stacy, told CNN that his daughter said Mercer asked students to get on the floor, then asked them to stand up if they were Christians.
“And they would stand up and he said, ‘Good, because you’re a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second,’” Boylan’s father said, relaying his daughter’s account. “And then he shot and killed them.”
Lithium_Love was another online identity linked to Mercer’s email address. Under this username, he posted on torrent-upload sites, sometimes asking people to donate to his email address to support the file-sharing work.
In a blog linked to that identity, Mercer expressed admiration for Roanoke shooter Vester Flanagan.
People “like him have nothing left to live for,” Mercer wrote on August 31. “On an interesting note, I have noticed that so many people like him are all alone and unknown, yet when they spill a little blood, the whole world knows who they are... A man who was known by no one, is now known by everyone. His face splashed across every screen, his name across the lips of every person on the planet, all in the course of one day. Seems the more people you kill, the more you’re in the limelight.”
The MySpace page features a photo of Mercer holding a gun and smiling into the camera. The profile includes images of pro-Irish Republican Army propaganda.
Gary Evans, 62, who was married to Mercer’s aunt, told The Daily Beast in a phone interview that when Mercer came into the world, his birth father was not in the picture.
“They were separated when I first met them, and I don’t believe they ever were married,” Evans said.
The father is Caucasian, Evans said, while Mercer’s mother, Laurel Harper, is black.
Laurel was the second-oldest of four sisters and was raised in Torrance in what Evans described as a “very upper-middle-class” household. When Evans married Laurel Harper’s sister Maribeth back in 1990, Mercer’s mom was just starting to become a nurse.
“I know she went from career to career and then settled on nursing,” he said. “She was working full-time and taking [nursing] classes part-time.”
The New York Times reports Mercer was described by neighbors as a reclusive young man who was “fiercely protected” by his mother.