Police confirmed on Saturday that Christopher Harper-Mercer, the gunman who killed nine people at a community college in Oregon this week, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound following a shootout with police officers.
Harper-Mercer was armed with six guns, multiple ammunition magazines, and body armor when he opened fire on an English class in which he was enrolled at Umpqua Community College on Thursday. Altogether, the New York Times reports, police have confiscated 14 guns from Harper-Mercer. (The rest were at his apartment.)
According to the Times, all of the gunman’s weapons had been purchased legally—either by Harper-Mercer himself or by a relative. Harper-Mercer’s father, Ian Mercer, spoke to CNN from his home in Tarzana, California, saying that he had not known his son owned so many weapons. (Harper-Mercer’s parents divorced 10 years ago; he lived with his mother.)
“How was he able to compile that kind of arsenal?” Mercer asked, going on to say that the killings “would not have happened” if his son had not been able to get his hands on the weapons.
“It has to change,” Mercer said. “How can it not? Even people that believe in the right to bear arms, what right do you have to take someone’s life?”
Police arrived on campus five minutes after the first 911 calls were made, the Times reports. Two minutes later, police officers exchanged gunfire with Harper-Mercer, and, two minutes after that, they reported that he had gone down.
Before his death, though, Harper-Mercer terrorized the classroom, telling some of his victims to crawl across the floor as he shot them, and killing another after telling her to beg for her life, the Associated Press reports.
According to the mother of a student who witnessed the killings, Harper-Mercer gave one student—the “lucky one”—something to deliver to authorities. Other survivors’ relatives confirmed the account, the AP reports: Pastor Randy Scroggins said his daughter, who survived the shooting without injury, had told him Harper-Mercer said to one student, “Don’t worry, you’re the one who is going to survive.” He gave the student his backpack, which contained “all the information that you’ll need. Give it to the police.”
Police have not said whether they received anything from Harper Mercer, although the AP reports that a law enforcement official said that a several-pages-long manifesto had been recovered.