ROSEBURG, Ore. -- As a killer gunned down victims inside a college classroom, he spared one student and gave him a package to deliver to authorities, according to the grandmother of a student who witnessed the deadly rampage in Oregon.
Gunman Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer, 26, later killed himself as officers arrived, Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said yesterday.
The grandmother, Janet Willis, said her granddaughter Anastasia Boylan, 18, was wounded in the Thursday attack and pretended to be dead as Harper-Mercer kept firing, killing eight students and a teacher.
Willis said she visited her granddaughter in a hospital in Eugene, where the sobbing Boylan told her: "Grandma, he killed my teacher! He killed my teacher! I saw it!"
Boylan also said the shooter told one student in the writing class to stand in a corner, handed him a package and told him to deliver it to authorities, Willis said.
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Authorities have not disclosed whether they have such a package, but a law enforcement official said a manifesto of several pages had been recovered.
The official did not reveal the contents of the document but described it as an effort to leave a message for law enforcement.
The official said the document was left at the scene of the shooting but wouldn't specify how authorities obtained it.
Boylan, a freshman at Umpqua Community College, also told her grandmother the gunman asked students about their faith.
"If they said they were Christian, he shot them in the head," Willis said, citing the account given by her granddaughter.
However, conflicting reports emerged about Harper-Mercer's words as he shot his victims.
Stephanie Salas, the mother of Rand McGowan, another student who survived, said she was told by her son that the shooter asked victims whether they were religious but did not specifically target Christians.
Her son said the shooter had people stand up before asking, "Do you have a God? Are you Christian? Do you have a religion?" Salas said it was like telling the victims "you're going to be meeting your maker." Salas said the gunman told victims "this won't hurt very long" before shooting them.
Law enforcement officials have not given details about what happened in the classroom. However they released a timeline that shows police arrived at the scene six minutes after the first 911 call and exchanged gunfire with the shooter two minutes later.
Harper-Mercer was enrolled in the class but officials have not disclosed a possible motive for the killings. In a statement released by authorities, his family said they were "shocked and deeply saddened" by the slayings.
Harper-Mercer wore a flak jacket and brought at least six guns and five ammunition magazines when he went to the campus that morning.
The dead ranged in age from 18 to 67 and included several freshmen. They were sons and daughters, spouses and parents.
Nine other people were wounded in the attack.