ROSEBURG, Ore. — A female student whose life was spared when she played dead after being shot in the back Thursday during the Umpqua Community College massacre says that she heard the gunman’s words targeting Christians as he carried out his assault.
Stacy Boylan, the father of Anastasia Boylan, who was struck in the back and is being treated at a local hospital, relayed the story to reporters on Friday.
“From what I understood, what she said is he shot the professor point blank—one shot, killed him,” he recalled. “Others were injured.”
Boylan said that the gunman, who is identified as 26-year-old Christopher Harper Mercer, then declared, “I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time” and let out a laugh that “was not human.”
Mercer then ordered students on the ground and began asking each student if they were a Christian.
“This man had enough time—I don’t know how much time elapsed before he was able to stand there and start asking people one by one what their religion was,” Boylan explained. “‘Are you a Christian?’ he would ask them. ‘And if you’re a Christian, stand up.'”
“And they would stand up, and he said, ‘Good, because you’re a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second,'” he continued. “And then he shot and killed them. And he kept going down the line doing this to people.”
Boylan said that his daughter played dead as she lay injured in order to save her life. He states that the gunman ordered her to stand, but she refused to move, and so he asked a student next to her whether Boylan was dead or alive. The student replied that they didn’t know, and Mercer moved on.
Boylan said that his daughter feared that Mercer might see the cross tattoo on her neck.
She was transported to a local hospital and underwent surgery to remove a bullet near her spine.
According to reports, Mercer left a note behind stating that he felt the world was against him. He lamented the course of his life, but remarked that he would be “welcomed in Hell and embraced by the devil.”
One unnamed source told People Magazine that Mercer was interested in Satanism and had a manifesto to “serve darkness.”
“The guy did this strictly for satanic purposes,” they stated. “He did it to become a god in hell. He wants to be evil. That is his goal, to serve Satan.”