The 18-year-old college student singled out by the shooter as the ‘lucky one’ to survive and deliver a package to law enforcement spoke for the first time on Friday about the massacre in Roseburg, Oregon.
In a written statement that was the most detailed account thus far of the Oct. 1 shooting, Mathew Downing said that when Christopher Harper-Mercer entered the Umpqua Community College classroom, Downing’s ears were ringing from shots already fired, and he thought what was happening ‘couldn’t be real.’
He said the first thing the shooter did was put his backpack on the front desk and pull out an envelope, saying: ‘There is a flash drive in this and whoever survives this should give it to the police.’
Downing’s account of what came next coincides with relatives of survivors who previously reported that Harper-Mercer looked at Downing and said, ‘Hey kid with the glasses, you are the lucky one. I will not shoot you if you give this to the cops.’
‘He paused for a second and then handed the envelope to me and said to sit in the very back seat and face him,’ said Downing.
Downing said he stood up then, and the shooter pointed a gun at him. ‘This is the moment I thought I was going to die,’ Downing said.
Downing did so and said at that point Harper-Mercer fired into the center of the room and began asking students one by one if they were religious.
The shooter fired at one student who said he was Christian and another who said she was Catholic.
‘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,’ Downing said in the statement.
He says that another student apologized for whatever she or others did wrong to offend the shooter before she was also shot.
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