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ATF: Gun bought in Arizona linked to OR shooting

Posted at 7:21 PM, Oct 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-02 22:21:44-04

An official confirmed Friday that the gunman who opened fire at a community college in Oregon, killing 10 people and injuring seven, legally purchased a gun online from an Arizona dealer.

Tom Mangan, spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Arizona, said the rifle was legally purchased using a Curios and Relics license in 2012 and shipped out.

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He said the gun dealer is not located in the Phoenix metro area, but he could not provide a more specific location. 

Federal agents recovered six guns from Umpqua Community College's campus and found seven more at the suspected shooter's apartment, according to Celinez Nunez, ATF assistant special agent in charge.

It is unclear at this point if the rifle purchased from an Arizona dealer was one of the weapons found on campus or in the shooter's home.

RELATED: Oregon shooting has ripple effect in Arizona

An anonymous government source identified the shooter to the Associated Press as 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer. Several other news organizations have identified the gunman by the same name.

All of the weapons were purchased legally, seven of them by Mercer or his family members, according to ATF.

Nunez said agents also found a flak jacket with steel plates next to a rifle.

Social profiles linked to Mercer suggested he was fascinated by the IRA, frustrated by traditional organized religion and tracked other mass shootings.

There didn't seem to be many recent connections on the social media sites linked to Mercer, with his MySpace page just showing two friends.

In addition to the MySpace page, Mercer appeared to have at least one online dating profile, a torrents streaming account and a blog.

On a torrents streaming site and blog that appeared to belong to Mercer, posts referenced multiple shootings and downloads included several horror films and a documentary on a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. A blog post urged readers to watch the online footage of Vester Flanagan shooting two former colleagues on live TV in Virginia, while another lamented materialism as preventing spiritual development.

A MySpace page that appeared to belong to Mercer included several photos and graphics of the Irish Republican Army as well as a picture of Mercer holding a rifle.

Mercer previously lived in the Los Angeles-area suburb of Torrance with his mother. Neighbors there recalled him as uncommunicative.

His father, Ian Mercer, said late Thursday that it's been a "devastating day" for him and his family, and he has been talking to police and the FBI about the shooting. He spoke to KABC-TV and several other media outlets gathered outside his house in Tarzana, California.

Step-sister Carmen Nesnick said the shooting didn't make sense.

"All he ever did was put everyone before himself, he wanted everyone to be happy," she told KCBS-TV.