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Obama denounces Oregon shooting, urges gun policy

A gunman opened fire on Thursday at an Oregon community college, killing 13 people in an act of violence strongly condemned by President Barack Obama.

Thirteen people were killed in the incident at Umpqua Community College and about 20 others were wounded, according to Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.

The shooter — a 20-year-old man — died after exchanging gunfire with law enforcement, officials said. It was not immediately clear if he was included in the number of deceased Rosenblum provided.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said in a statement that it is "still too early to know all of the facts," but stressed the state's top priority is treating injured victims and securing the campus. Authorities did not immediately give any details on a motive but said they were investigating.

In a somber press conference, Obama expressed both support for the victims and incredulity that Americans continue to die in mass shootings. He renewed his call for stronger gun controls to help stem the violence.

"Somehow, this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine," he said in a prepared statement. "We've become numb to this."

Opponents, many of which are members of the Republican-controlled Congress, however, strongly oppose new measures. They argue gun control legislation does little to prevent incidents of violence.

'Thoughts, prayers not enough'

A patient is wheeled into the emergency room at Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg, Ore., following a deadly shooting at Umpqua Community College, in Roseburg, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015.
Aaron Yost | Roseburg News-Review | AP
A patient is wheeled into the emergency room at Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg, Ore., following a deadly shooting at Umpqua Community College, in Roseburg, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015.

Obama said that federal officials that traveled to the scene Thursday would help "as long as they need." As he has in the wake of past mass shootings, Obama also urged lawmakers to act to make guns tougher to access in the United States to prevent future shootings.

"Our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we feel. And it does not prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America," Obama said.

Police first received a call about an active shooter in a classroom just after 10:30 a.m. local time. Authorities evacuated the area and advised people nearby to avoid the campus, which sits about a three-hour drive from Portland.

"We locked our door, and I went out to lock up the restrooms and could hear four shots from the front of campus," UCC Foundation Executive Director Dennis O'Neill told the Roseburg News-Review, a newspaper in nearby Roseburg.

Helicopters were dispatched to fly victims for treatment. At least 12 people were taken to Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg.

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post that students and faculty were being taken to a nearby fairground. The FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were sending officials to the scene.

Shooting reported at Umqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon on Oct. 1, 2015.
Source: Google Maps
Shooting reported at Umqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon on Oct. 1, 2015.


Umpqua is a two-year school with roughly 3,300 full-time students and 16,000 part-time students.

Obama said he has received criticism in the past for making political statements after mass shootings. However, he called it "something we should politicize."

Gun laws remain a highly-debated issue in Congress, and many efforts to craft tougher rules have hit roadblocks in recent years. He called for a "change of politics" on guns.

This story is developing. Please check back for further updates.

— NBC News and The Associated Press contributed to this report