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Oregon shooter said to have singled out Christians for killing in ‘horrific act of cowardice’

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What is known so far about the attacker — identified by a U.S. law enforcement official as Chris Harper Mercer — appear only as loose strands that suggested an interest in firearms and the infamy gained by mass shooters.

Witnesses also said he seemed to seek specific revenge against Christians, and police examined Web posts that hinted of wider antipathy toward organized faith.

But authorities still struggled to build a clearer picture at what drove the California-raised Mercer to stalk rural Umpqua Community College — armed with three pistols and a semiautomatic rifle — and methodically pick off students and professors Thursday on the fourth day of the fall semester.

At the end, nine people were dead, plus Mercer, and the college joined the mournful roster of America’s mass shooting sites.

At least 10 others were admitted for treatment at the Mercy Medical Center, said the chief medical officer, Jason Gray, on Friday. Three patients were transferred to larger facilities for more intensive care, he added.

“The days and weeks ahead will be the most challenging” as the small community copes with the aftermath, Gray said.

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