At least 13 dead as gunman opens fire at US college

A patient is wheeled into Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg, Oregon. Picture: AP
A patient is wheeled into Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg, Oregon. Picture: AP
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A gunman opened fire at a community college in the United States yesterday, killing at least 13 people and wounding 20.

The shooting happened at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, about 180 miles south of Portland. The local fire service advised people via Twitter to stay away from the school. It later tweeted that there were “multiple casualties” but did not elaborate.

Bill Fugate of the state police told KATU-TV that at least seven to ten people were dead and at more than 20 others hurt.

A photographer for the Roseburg News-Review newspaper said he had seen people being loaded into several ambulances and taken to the local hospital.

Andrea Zielinski, a spokeswoman for Douglas County Sheriff’s office, said: “There’s no more threat.”

Shewould not say whether a suspect had been apprehended or was dead.

The school has about 3,000 students. Its website was down yesterday and phone messages were not being returned.

The sheriff’s office reported on Twitter that it had received a call about the shooting at 10:38am local time.

After the incident, students and faculty members were being bussed to the Douglas County Fairgrounds, the sheriff’s office said.

A spokeswoman for the body that oversees community colleges in the state said she had not received any detailed information about the shooting. “It’s extremely concerning and sad,” Endi Hartigan, spokeswoman for the Oregon Higher Education Co-ordinating Commission, said.

Despite there being no official word on fatalities, Douglas County Fire Marshall Ray Shoufler, speaking on CNN, said there had been “multiple patients in multiple classrooms” and that 11 people had been taken to a local hospital, two of whom had died there.

Mr Shoufler said “multiple” people were dead but did not have a specific number.

He said: “We arrived to find multiple patients in multiple classrooms. Law enforcement was on scene and had the shooter neutralised.”

Marilyn Kittelman, the mother of a student at the college, told CNN her son had said he heard no sound from the “30 some shots”, suggesting a silencer may have been used on the gun.

Mercy Medical Centre in Roseburg wrote on its Twitter account that it had received nine patients from the college and three more were en route.

Agents from the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were on their way to the area and dog-handling teams were searching for explosives, fire arms casings and ammunition, a spokesman said.

The rural town of Roseburg lies west of the Cascade Mountains in an area where the timber industry has struggled.

In recent years, officials have tried to promote the region as a tourist destination for vineyards and outdoor activities.