Community members attend a candle light vigil in Stewart Park in Roseburg, Ore. Oct. 1, 2015. The vigil was held for the victims of a mass shooting at the Umpqua Community College campus in Roseburg, Ore. earlier in the day.

At long last, nearly two years after the tragedy that struck Umpqua Community College on Oct. 1, 2015, the police released their investigation records about the incident.

For some, the records help provide some answers to the lingering questions about why this horrible event happened. For them, perhaps, it offers a sense of closure. For others, unfortunately, it may reopen old wounds.

We want to once again offer our condolences to all those who suffered injury and loss and trauma that terrible day. And to express our gratitude for the immense bravery of our law enforcement and first responders, along with all those who stepped in to help in the aftermath. Many lives were lost that day, but many also were saved.

To the brave officers who took out the shooter at grave risk to their own lives, we thank you. To the people who pulled out the survivors, rendered aid, transported them to and treated them at local hospitals, we thank you. To all the people who counseled the traumatized, brought candles to the vigil, laid flowers down, gave donations and lined the streets to welcome UCC students when they returned to class, we thank you too.

We also are grateful to the investigators who looked into every aspect of this case. Going through their records, our staff members were able to gain a better understanding of what motivated the killer, of the heroic actions through which he finally was stopped, of what the survivors experienced.

For those seeking answers, we’ve done our best to provide them and will continue to do so. For those not willing to reopen old wounds, we understand if you set down the paper for a few days and look away. That’s OK too.

Some of our readers and others in the community questioned why we chose to name the shooter. In part, the answer is that we are, as journalists, obligated to report the facts and record the history of our time. We understand that some feel to use the name somehow glorifies the shooter or gives him what he wanted.

We disagree.

The shooter hoped that after he murdered his classmates he would join a demon hierarchy in hell. Somewhere in the deep recesses of his mind, the line blurred between severe mental illness and pure evil.

Speaking his name won’t change that. Fearing his name won’t prevent the next shooting down the line.

Looking the truth square in the eyes, understanding as best we can what happened here — that might help prevent the next one. But there are no guarantees.

The truth is that a very mentally ill young man, one who may have been molested in a church, one who felt he would never have friends, one who identified himself as part black but who hated black men, and one who believed demons spoke to him was able to fill his home with guns. And one terrible day, he used some of them to murder nine people.

The truth is also that we all wish this had never happened in our beautiful community. And that the real Roseburg was revealed not in the shooter’s actions, but in our response to this tragedy.

In the end, the only thing that can defeat the darkness is light.

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(5) comments


Just out of curiosity how many articles is this paper going to run on this topic?


I have had very close to UCC for a very long time. My second family in many respects. My heart fell totally out of my body upon hearing of this tragic news several years ago. I was not living in Roseburg at the time, but I could NOT think of anything else. It was that way for a LONG time. Tears still come to my eyes and heart if I allow it. Such a tragedy or {insert your word here}. On the otherhand, look at how the community and afar, came together. They came together for each other.

I don't believe you "get over" something lile this. Some will say they forgive. I find that admirable, because I can NOT. We move on. We honor those affected by remembering. We may move on, but again do NOT forget.

My heart and prayers go out with the upcoming anniversary to all that have been affected by these tragic events. Praying that we canfind peace in our hearts to keep going.

Gotta' admit, I love the "UCC STRONG". More than just a motto, saying, cread,... It JUST IS


The problem people have is with the distrust of the media profiting from such bloodshed. Two years and it's maybe he was molested in church, maybe he was mentally ill, or a million other possible speculations. I told my son this the day after the shooting: "There was a bad person who used a weapon to hurt people at UCC. A few people died, and many families are grieving." I think the speculation and opinion is not necessary. It just further isolates another person who may follow this type of action. Instead of speculating that being molested in a church caused this. We need to understand that this person needed compassion just once, and I bet everybody failed him at that critical moment.


Very good comment. We ALL need to fight ALL hate with love. Something as simple as following the 10 Commandments would solve a lot of societies problems. A good way to start is just to smile. Smiles are contagious. So pass your smile along.


As 10/1 approaches I am reminded as to the life changes I went through that week. For one I found my formula to leave hate from my life. HURT turns to Anger turns to Resentment turns, which turns to HATE. Eventually it turns to REVENGE. Today I allow myself to at times to get angry it also reminds me to "get over it". I generally pray, it get mind back to a more peaceful state. I do not hate anymore, I am reminded everyday how hate destroys lives, families, friendships, even cities. I commented after this tragedy, I had to escape from the turmoil in our city, mixed emotions made its way throughout the county. People protested Obamas arrival at a time we should have been attempting to heal. Politics seemed very unimportant but hate loves to see pitted against each other. I left town a very bitter upset person "why had this person killed us" It was hate. I watched a happy community brought to its knees by hate. However as I came back to Roseburg I seen signs up everywhere that showed we were going to be ok and we were "UCC STRONG". Thank you for the article. Today in church I will remember how Our community fought hate with love.

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