Oregon Shooting 'Lucky One' Gives Details of Massacre

Mathew Downing describes how it unfolded
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 11, 2015 1:31 PM CDT
Oregon Shooting 'Lucky One' Gives Details of Massacre
Former Roseburg High School math teacher Josh Carlton wipes away tears as Taylor Moore recounts a memory from her time as classmate of Quinn Cooper at a church in Roseburg, Ore., on Oct. 10, 2015.   (Michael Sullivan/The News-Review via AP)

The 18-year-old college student singled out by the shooter as the "lucky one" to survive and deliver a package to law enforcement has told his story for the first time about the massacre in Roseburg, Oregon. In a written statement that was the most detailed account thus far of the Oct. 1 shooting, Mathew Downing said Friday that when Christopher Harper-Mercer entered the Umpqua Community College classroom, Downing's ears were ringing from shots already fired, and he thought what was happening "couldn't be real." He said the first thing the shooter did was put his backpack on the front desk, pull out an envelope, and choose Downing as the one to deliver it to authorities. Among the details:

  • "Hey kid with the glasses, you are the lucky one. I will not shoot you if you give this to the cops," Harper-Mercer apparently told him. Downing said he stood up then, and the shooter pointed a gun at him. "This is the moment I thought I was going to die," Downing said.
  • Harper-Mercer fired into the center of the room and began asking students one by one if they were religious. As has been reported, the shooter fired at one student who said he was Christian and another who said she was Catholic.
  • The shooter reloaded two handguns with ammunition from his backpack during the killings, Downing said. Harper-Mercer was "firing on people who were just lying there," Downing said.
  • Downing also said the shooter seemed to lose interest when a woman told him she couldn't move her legs to stand up because of the pain. He turned to another woman, telling her to stand, and she picked up a desk to defend herself, Downing said. Harper-Mercer fired at her anyway, hitting her in the leg.
  • When the shooter noticed police, he leaned out a window and fired at them. Downing also wrote that after Harper-Mercer was hit by police gunfire, he lay down on the floor and shot himself in the head.
Harper-Mercer killed nine people and wounded nine others. (More school shooting stories.)

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