Story highlights

School confirms shooter was taking two classes -- English and theater

Sheriff says gunman was enrolled in the class where the shootings took place

ATF agent says investigators found 6 guns at school, 7 at shooter's home

Roseburg, Oregon CNN  — 

The man who gunned down nine people at an Oregon community college was enrolled in the class where the fatal shootings occurred, Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said Friday.

At an earlier news conference, Hanlin identified the nine dead, who range in age from 18 to 67:

– Lucero Alcaraz, 19

– Treven Taylor Anspach, 20

– Rebecka Ann Carnes, 18

– Quinn Glen Cooper, 18

– Kim Saltmarsh Dietz, 59

– Lucas Eibel, 18

– Jason Dale Johnson, 34

– Lawrence Levine, 67 (teacher)

– Sarena Dawn Moore, 44

Hanlin was asked whether the shooter was a student at Umpqua Community College. He didn’t have the information at the time, but later updated a web page with confirmation Chris Harper-Mercer was enrolled there.

Rita Cavin, interim president of the school, told CNN that Harper-Mercer, 26, was enrolled in English and theater classes. The gunman initially opened fire in an English class, she said.

13 firearms found

Investigators found 13 firearms connected to shooter, Celinez Nunez of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said.

Five pistols and one rifle were found at the college, where the shooter died Thursday after a gunbattle with police, Nunez told reporters.

Police searched his apartment and found two pistols, four rifles and a shotgun, she said.

All the guns were legally obtained by the shooter or family members over the last three years through a federally licensed firearms dealer, she said. A flak jacket was found next to a rifle at the school with five magazines of ammunition, Nunez said, and additional ammunition was found at the residence.

Authorities are not providing a motive for America’s latest mass killing, which left nine people wounded. The gunman went to the college in rural south Oregon heavily armed and wearing body armor, authorities said.

Two of the people killed were members of the local EMS and fire department “family,” Douglas County Fire District No. 2 Chief Greg Marlar said.

Sen. Jeff Merkley said one of his cousins was killed at the school. “This is a small town and everyone is affected,” he said.

Stacy Boylan, the father of Anastasia Boylan, who was wounded, said she told him the gunman singled out Christians.

She said the gunman entered her classroom firing, told the professor teaching the class, “I’ve been waiting to do this for years,” and shot him point blank, Stacy Boylan said.

While reloading his handgun, the man ordered the students to stand up and asked whether they were Christians, Boylan told her family.

“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,’ ” Stacy Boylan told CNN, relaying his daughter’s account. “And then he shot and killed them.”

Anastasia Boylan, 18, was hit in the back by a bullet that traveled down her spine. While she lay bleeding on the floor, the gunman called out to her, “Hey you, blond woman,” her mother said. She played dead – and survived.

Another intriguing element in the investigation: The shooter is reported to have delivered “a box” to someone during the shooting.

Stacy Boylan said his daughter told him the man “gave somebody a box, somebody who lived, and said, ‘You gotta deliver this.’ Somebody has a box. I don’t know what that’s about.”

Law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation told CNN that the gunman handed his writings to a survivor, telling that person to give it to police, but the sources could not confirm the writings were inside the box.

Investigators said the writing portrayed the shooter as a student of past mass shootings. The gunman identified with the perpetrators of those rampages, the sources said, including Elliot Rodger, who killed six people in Santa Barbara, California, in 2014. The Oregon shooter expressed frustration that other mass killers did not take on police and vowed he would kill police along with others, law enforcement officials said.

30-year-old man shot seven times trying to save others at college

The gunman

Speaking on CNN’s “New Day,” Sheriff Hanlin said he had not heard anything about the gunman asking victims about their religion.

Hanlin reiterated that he will not officially speak the name of gunman.

“I don’t want to glorify the shooter, I don’t want to glorify his name, I don’t want to glorify his cause,” Hanlin said.

Oregon sheriff who ‘will never’ say shooter’s name is no fan of gun control

The motive

“He was a little odd, like sensitive to things,” said Rebecca Miles, who took a theater class with Harper-Mercer.

Investigators talked to the gunman’s family and neighbors to try to piece together the puzzle.

“Obviously it’s been a devastating day,” Harper-Mercer’s father, Ian, told reporters outside his house in Tarzana, California. “Devastating for me and my family.”

The shooter served in the Army from 2008 from November 5 to December 11 at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, but was “discharged for failing to meet the minimum administrative standards,” the Pentagon said in a news release. A military official said Harper-Mercer never made it out of basic training.