A dark picture is emerging of slain Umpqua Community College shooter Chris Harper-Mercer as a deeply troubled, anti-religion, anti-government recluse obsessed with guns, The Oregonian reports. The U.S. Army discharged him just five weeks into basic training in 2008. He graduated in 2009 from a high school catering to troubled and special-needs students. At the shooting on Thursday, he left behind an angry note that is now in the hands of investigators. The Los Angeles Times said the note was several pages long and talked about his anger and depression.
Sofia Camarena, who formerly dated Harper-Mercer’s father, said, “He was born with problems. He was hard to discipline. If you told him ‘no,’ he would scream like you had just hit him.” There are a number of indications that Harper-Mercer had mental health or behavioral issues. His screen name on some social media sites was “lithium love.” Lithium is used as a psychiatric medication. Witnesses said Harper-Mercer singled out the religious during the shooting. He reportedly asked students and staff their religion and shot those who answered they were Christians.