UCC Shooting survivor called 'the lucky one' shares harrowing me - KPTV - FOX 12

UCC Shooting survivor called 'the lucky one' shares harrowing memories of tragedy

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ROSEBURG, OR (KPTV) -

One week after the shooting at Umpqua Community College took the lives of nine innocent people, a survivor of the shooting is giving the clearest vision yet of the horror the people in the classroom faced.

Mathew Downing, who shooter Chris Harper-Mercer tasked with sharing an envelope explaining the attack, said the day started, “as any other day would’ve.”

Downing said the shooting began around 30 to 40 minutes into the class, and that Harper-Mercer order everyone to the center of the room before pulling out a package. He then told Downing he was “the lucky one” who would give it to police, and to sit in the back row of the class.

Downing noted the shooter asking victims if they were religious before firing at them. When one girl apologized for “whatever happened to him and for whatever she had done wrong,” Harper-Mercer offered only a short answer before shooting her.

Downing continued to describe the experience, as the shooter began to target victims outside the classroom, including veteran Chris Mintz. He also detailed the arrival of police officers and the shooter’s taking of his own life.

The survivor said he shared his memory of tragedy, ‘to get my story out in a way that I feel comfortable.” He also added a hard-earned piece of advice.

“The final thing I want to add is that I and everybody else should get from this is that any day could be your last,” Downing wrote. “You don't want anybody's last memory of you to be a bad one so everybody needs to take it upon themselves to just be a lot nicer to people.”

Full Statement

Thursday started out as any other day would’ve. I got to school on time, sat down and pulled out the paper to turn it. It was about 30 or 40 minutes into the class when I heard a couple of shots fired, I couldn’t hear anything when he had walked in because my ears where ringing so badly. When I saw the gun when he walked in the first thought in my head was that this couldn’t be real. The first thing I could hear was him telling everybody to get onto the ground, I listened and figured that if I did so throughout I wouldn’t be harmed. He then told everybody to get into the center of the room and be quiet. He then put his backpack on the front desk and pulled out an envelope and said that there is a flash drive in this and whoever survives this should give it to the police. He looked directly at me and said hey kid with the glasses you are the lucky one, I will not shoot you if you give this to the cops. I stood up and he pointed the gun at me and this is the moment I thought I was going to die. He paused for a second and then handed the envelope to me and said to sit in the very back seat and face him. I then did so as he fired a couple of shots into the crowd of students in the center. The shooter then asked one of the other students to stand up and when he did asked him if he was religious. The student said he was Christian and was shot. He then had another student stand up and asked him the same, when he answered Catholic the shooter then asked if he believed in the afterlife. The student said I don’t know and the shooter thanked him for standing up for his beliefs and shot him. One of the girls that was lying near the front of the class then said that she was sorry for whatever happened to him and for whatever she had done wrong. The shooter then said that he bets she was and shot her. At that point he was just firing on people who were just lying there and stopped when he heard a woman outside and shot out the window by the door. That is when he looked out the door and saw a man standing outside. The man asked him not to shoot him because it’s his son’s birthday. The shooter then fired multiple shots out of the door and shut it. When he looked back in he looked at everybody and said that he was glad there where some people alive. The shooter then asked a student in the back of the class if she would stand up and she said that her legs wouldn’t move because she was in too much pain. He seemed to have lost interest and pointed his gun to another student in the back and told her to stand up, she got scared and picked up a desk to defend herself and he shot through it anyway and hit her in the leg. At that point the police had shown up and where yelling from outside which alerted the shooter and he looked outside then fired some shots. As he was doing this he was reloading his two handguns with ammunition in his backpack. He never left the class but only leaned about half of his torso out of the classroom to fire on the police. The shooter leaned out of the classroom about two times and was shot by one of the officers then retreated into the class. When this happened, he laid down on the ground and shot himself in the head.

                  This is my recollection, my story of the events that unfolded Thursday in the Snyder building of UCC. The reason I have for writing this statement is for me to get my story out in a way that I feel comfortable. The final thing I want to add is that I and everybody else should get from this is that any day could be your last. You don't want anybody's last memory of you to be a bad one so everybody needs to take it upon themselves to just be a lot nicer to people.

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