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Gunman's death in Oregon school shooting ruled a suicide

Social media posts suggest the gunman was socially isolated and frustrated by an inability to forge relationships.

By Brooks Hays

ROSEBURG, Ore., Oct. 3 (UPI) -- On Saturday, police confirmed gunman Chris Harper Mercer took his own life after exchanging fire with police officers.

Initial reports suggested Mercer, 26, was killed in a firefight with authorities. But after killing nine people at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, Mercer shot himself.

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"The medical examiner has determined the cause of death of the shooter to be suicide," Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin told reporters.

In a press conference, Hanlin said the gunman's background and potential motives were still being investigated. Hanlin also said 14 firearms connected to the Mercer had been discovered. Five pistols and one rifle were recovered from the site of the shooting. And authorities with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives found another three handguns, four rifles and a shotgun at Mercer's apartment.

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The guns were all purchased from registered firearm dealers, accumulated by either Mercer or family members over the last several years.

Mercer's father told reporters he was unaware of his son's firearm collection.

The gunman's family told authorities that Mercer had a history of mental health issues and had sought treatment in the past.

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In a released statement, Mercer's family said they were "shocked and deeply saddened" by the recent tragedy.

Investigators are looking into blog posts connected to Mercer that suggest a fascination with the Irish Republican Army, as well as an interest in the media attention given to those who commit mass shootings. Social media posts suggest Mercer was socially isolated and frustrated by an inability to forge relationships.

On Friday, officials released the names of the nine victims killed in Thursday's shooting: Lucero Alcaraz, 19; Quinn Glen Cooper, 18; Kim Saltmarsh Dietz, 59; Lucas Eibel, 18; Jason Dale Johnson, 33; Lawrence Levine, 67; Sarena Dawn Moore, 44; Treven Taylor Anspach, 20; and Rebecka Ann Carnes, 18.

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