Oregon shooter killed himself in front of class: Officials

Photos of three victims from the mass shooting posted on a fire station wall in Roseburg, Oregon.
Photos of three victims from the mass shooting posted on a fire station wall in Roseburg, Oregon.AFP

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - The gunman behind the massacre at a college in Oregon that left nine people dead killed himself in the classroom where the carnage took place, authorities said Wednesday.

Jim Burge, police chief in the city of Roseburg, said the 26-year-old shooter confronted two police officers who arrived at the scene right after his killing spree.

After being struck by a bullet, he went back into the classroom and committed suicide, Burge said.

"Once the shooter was wounded, he entered the classroom again, and he went to the front of the classroom, and he shot and killed himself," Burge told reporters, hailing the two officers as heroes.

New details have been emerging about the Oct 1 shooting at Umpqua Community college, in which nine others were injured.

They depict the gunman, identified as Chris Harper Mercer, as an aloof young man who was fascinated with guns and suffered mental health problems.

Authorities have said they recovered 14 firearms belonging to the shooter, including six that were found at the college along with a flak jacket and ammunition.

President Barack Obama is to meet with families of the victims on Friday in Roseburg, a visit that is not being welcomed by everyone in the conservative town.

The father of one girl who was shot in the back and survived by playing dead told Fox News he had declined an invitation to meet with the President, accusing him of politicising the tragedy.

"On principle, I find that I am in disagreement with his policies on gun control, and therefore, we (the family) will not be attending the visit," Stacy Boylan told the network.

The publisher of the local paper, David Jaques, has also denounced the visit saying Obama was not "welcome here to grandstand for political purposes."

However, the city of Roseburg issued a statement on Tuesday saying such comments did not represent the community as a whole and that the President would receive a warm welcome.

The shooting has revived the debate on gun control in America with a visibly angry Obama urging lawmakers after the massacre to revisit the issue.