The man who authorities say killed 10 people at an Oregon college posted online that he disliked “organized religion,” according to a search of his social media accounts.
Witnesses said Christopher Harper Mercer asked potential victims their religion before opening fire on Thursday.
As media outlets combed Mercer’s past for clues to Thursday’s shooting, current and former neighbors remembered Mercer as quiet, belligerent, or reclusive.
Mercer had lived in Torrance, Calif., before moving to Winchester, Ore., about a year ago.
“I’d see Chris, shaved head, combat boots, camo pants and a plain brown or white shirt,” former Torrance neighbor Brian Clay told NBC. “He would really just walk really fast, avoid anybody who came towards him.”
“He always seemed anxious,” said Rosario Lucumi. “He always had earphones in, listening to music.”
He added, “He and his mother were really close.”
Mercer’s neighbors recalled an odd incident in which Mercer’s mother launched a petition drive aimed at exterminating cockroaches.
“She said, ‘My son is dealing with some mental issues, and the roaches are really irritating him,’” Julia Winstead said. “She said they were going to go stay in a motel. Until that time, I didn’t know she had a son.”
In Oregon, he was more aggressive, and complained about neighbors who smoked.
“He yelled at us, me and my husband,” said Bronte Hart, who lives in the same building Mercer did. “He was not a friendly type of guy. He did not want anything to do with anyone.”
Mercer’s Internet profile painted a different picture.
“Looking for someone who shares my beliefs, and is similar to me,” one social media profile said. It listed “Internet, killing zombies, movies, music” and reading among hobbies and interests.
The profile describes “not religious, but spiritual” beliefs and was linked to a group called “doesn’t like organized religion.”
A search of social media showed he also seemed to support the Irish Republican Army.
h/t: The Oregonian
BCN editor’s note: This article first appeared at Western Journalism.