The father of a man who opened fire on a college campus in Oregon, killing nine people and wounding at least seven others, spoke out after the deadly rampage, saying he and his family were "devastated."
Ian Mercer spoke outside his Los Angeles, California home only hours after his son, Chris Harper-Mercer, was shot dead in a gunfire exchange with police at Umpqua Community College.
As he addressed reporters, Mercer declined to divulge much but expressed his shock at what had occurred.
“I am just as shocked as anybody at what happened today,” Mercer reportedly said after coming out of his Tarzana house. "I can’t answer any questions right now. I don’t want to answer any questions right now. Obviously, it’s been a devastating day, devastating for me and my family."
Harper-Mercer's stepsister, Carmen Nesnick, said she last spoke to him about a year ago and though she had only met him a few times, reportedly described him as "caring and supportive.”
“All he ever did was put everybody before himself. He wanted everyone to be happy. No matter if he was sad or mad, he would always try to cheer up everybody,” she said, CBS Los Angeles reported.
Her stepbrother was not a religious or anti-religious person, Nesnick urged, saying that her family is Christian.
According to reports, Harper-Mercer was born in the UK to a British father before the family moved to the US in the mid-90s. His parents divorced in 2006 and he had lived most recently with his mother in Oregon, OregonLive reported.
Neighbors at Harper-Mercer's home that he shared with his mother had differing opinions of him, as some recalled a shy and polite man while others said he was aggressive and fascinated with firearms.
Bryan Clay, 18, told the New York Times he once asked Harper-Mercer why he wore “a military get-up” every day.
“He kind of just didn’t want of talk about it” and changed the subject, Clay said.
“He yelled at us, me and my husband,” neighbor Bronte Hart told the paper. “He was not a friendly type of guy. He did not want anything to do with anyone.”