The gunman who opened fire at an Oregon community college was forcing people to stand up and state their religion before he began blasting away at them, survivors said Thursday.
A woman who claimed to have a grandmother inside a writing class in Snyder Hall, where a portion the massacre unfolded, described the scene in a tweet.
“The shooter was lining people up and asking if they were Christian,” she wrote. “If they said yes, then they were shot in the head. If they said no, or didn’t answer, they were shot in the legs. My grandma just got to my house, and she was in the room. She wasn’t shot, but she is very upset.
The Twitter user then recalled how her grandmother attempted to save the life of one of her close classmates.
“She tried to perform CPR on her friend, but it was too late,” the woman said. “I hope nothing like this ever happens again.”
Kortney Moore, an 18-year-old student at Umpqua Community College who was also in the room, told Oregon’s News Review that the shooter was indeed on the hunt for Christians.
Moments after hearing a bullet come flying through a window, she said the 20-year-old shooter made his way inside and targeted their teacher, pumping a single round into their head.
As the young man ordered people to the ground, Moore laid patiently with her classmates and waited, according to the News Review.
Once they all got down, she said the gunman began asking people to rise and say what their religion was. After they stood and gave their answer, he started shooting.
As the chaos continued, students began scrambling “like ants,” according to Brady Winder, a 23-year-old student from Portland who was in the room next door.
“People (were) screaming, ‘get out!,” he told NRToday, adding that he witnessed a girl frantically swimming across a nearby creek to escape.
Hannah Miles, another Umpqua student, was also sitting in a class room next door and said she initially heard a pop that sounded like a yardstick slapping on a chalkboard when the shooting broke out.
She said that when her class heard the noise again, her teacher went to see if everything was all right. Minutes later, shots rang out repeatedly and they all fled, leaving their belongings behind.
Jared Norman, a nursing student, was locked down in the cafeteria with 50 other students when he heard gunfire — which prompted a mass panic, he said, with his voice trembling.
UCC Foundation Executive Director Dennis O’Neill was also on campus during the shooting and said him and other school officials were running around and securing classrooms as the gunman made his way through Snyder Hall.
“We locked our door and I went out to lock up the rest rooms and could hear four shots from the front of campus,” he recalled.
Christian Bringhurst, a teacher at nearby Camas Valley Elementary School, said his daughter Justine was also on campus at time of shooting and was safely evacuated.
“It’s awful. The uncertainty of what is going on is tough to deal with,’ he explained. “We have a dozen (Camas Valley) kids going to school out there. Trying to find out who is there and make sure everybody is OK. Our hearts going out to the victims.”
Read more: NYP