Chris Harper Mercer left a manifesto that sources say sheds light on the Oregon college shooting that claimed nine lives, with the writing reportedly showing a young man obsessed with the devil and his troubles with women.
Mercer was identified by police as the man who walked onto the campus of Umpqua Community College on Thursday and opened fire, killing nine people and wounding nine others.
Though police and investigators are still trying to piece together the motive for the attack, writings left by the alleged -- and now deceased -- shooter could shed some light on it.
Oregon gunman handed out hate-filled papers & thumb drive before opening fire, sources say: http://t.co/wBx7fC6qwP pic.twitter.com/hBgdcrM7MyThe 26-year-old Mercer appeared to be obsessed with Satan, and even wrote the number 666 on a sheet of papers that he handed to a victim on Thursday. Witnesses say Mercer wanted the victim to make the writings public, though police have not yet discussed what the writing contained.
— ABC News (@ABC) October 2, 2015
A source who has seen the manifesto says it delved into the hatred that Chris Harper Mercer felt toward society.
"The guy did this strictly for satanic purposes," the source told People magazine. "He did it to become a god in hell. He wants to be evil. That is his goal, to serve Satan."
"The only thing I've seen that came close to this type of devotion to Satan is the 'Night Stalker' in Los Angeles," the source said, referring to serial killer Richard Ramirez.
In the manifesto, Chris Harper Mercer also lamented his difficulties with women.
"I am going to die friendless, girlfriendless, and a virgin," the writing allegedly said.
Reports of the manifesto are not confirmed, and at this point there is a lot of speculation and misinformation surrounding Chris Harper Mercer. Many reports have tried to connect him to terrorist groups, both domestic and foreign, but it appears that there is little evidence to support either.
Some early reports claimed that Mercer's attack was racially motivated, with some connecting him to the Black Lives Matter movement. But online writings from Mercer himself showed disdain for the movement and backing of law enforcement officials.
A separate report claimed that Mercer was an ISIS sympathizer who even tried to join the Islamist terrorist group in Syria.
A report from the European Union Times claimed that the alleged Oregon gunman "had been included on a list of 87,000 'known/suspected' Islamic terrorists" given to the United States by Russia, a list the U.S. reportedly refused. The report claims the following.
"According to this report, the black-Islamist terrorist who committed this act of terror, Chris Harper Mercer, had previously been identified by electronic intelligence specialists within the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) as being an Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) adherent after he had attempted to gain passage to Syria via Turkey during the first week of September, 2015."But like the reports of involvement in the Black Lives Matter movement, rumors that painted Chris Harper Mercer as a Muslim extremist seemed to have no backing.
Even initial reports that Mercer was targeting Christians now appear to be incorrect. Initial reports indicated that he asked victims if they were Christian, and shot them in the head if they answered yes.
But new reports from witnesses say that Mercer did ask questions about religion, but it did not appear to be a motivating factor in who he shot and who he did not.
"'Do you have a God? Are you Christian? Do you have a religion?' It was more so saying, 'You're going to be meeting your maker. This won't hurt very long.' Then he would shoot them," said Stephanie Salas, whose son, Rand McGowan, was wounded in the attack, in an interview with the Associated Press.
Even family members have difficulty coming up with an explanation, with Mercer's own father saying he doesn't know why his son decided to kill people.
Father of alleged Oregon gunman, Chris Harper Mercer: "I'm just as shocked as anybody" http://t.co/Nob2dWdpCC pic.twitter.com/H7TXsPkec4Police have not said if the manifesto left by Chris Harper Mercer would be made public.
— People magazine (@people) October 3, 2015
[Image via MySpace/Chris Harper Mercer]