Today Marks the Two Year Anniversary of the Umpqua Community College Tragedy

Two years ago today, the nine people in the picture below lost their lives simply for going to school.

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Photo Credit: KOIN T.V.

They were:

  • Rebecka Ann Carnes, 18, of Myrtle Creek, OR.  She was a soccer and softball player, and had just started her first job at Walmart a week earlier. She was a cousin to U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley.
  • Treven Taylor Anspach, 20, of Sutherlin, OR.  He was a member of the Umpqua Community College basketball team, and wanted to be a firefighter.
  • Sarena Dawn Moore, 44, of Myrtle Creek, OR.  She was a mother of three who was in a wheelchair due to a variety of health problems.  Her service dog stayed by her side even after she was mortally wounded.
  • Jason Dale Johnson, 33, of Winston, OR.  He was a recovering drug addict who had just completed a Salvation Army rehabilitation program, and was proudly getting his life back together and returning to school.
  • Lucas Eibel, 18, of Roseburg, OR. He was a quadruplet studying chemistry.  He loved animals and volunteered at the nearby Wildlife Safari.
  • Kim Saltmarsh Dietz, 59, of Roseburg, OR.  She was excited to go back to back to school after many years away.  Her daughter was also a student at U.C.C., and in a nearby classroom when the shooting happened.
  • Quinn Glen Cooper, 18, of Roseburg, OR.  He had just graduated from Roseburg High School, studied voice acting, and was going to take his test to become a brown belt the next day.
  • Lucero Alcaraz, 19, of Roseburg, OR.  She had just graduated from nearby Roseburg high school, and received a full scholarship to become a  pediatric nurse.
  • Lawrence Levine, 67, of Glide, OR.  He was the teacher in the classroom.  He was an avid fly fisherman on the Umpqua river, and had written several novels.

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    Photo Credit: WXFL

Unfortunately, their their lives were mercilessly ended on October 1, 2015 by a 26 year old mentally ill man armed with six guns who left a manifesto describing his bitterness  that the world was conspiring against him.  For the  families of the victims, the seven other people seriously wounded, the law enforcement officers who responded, those who had to witness this horrible tragedy, and a community, the story hasn’t ended.
It was at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon that the shooter entered a writing 121 classroom and killed nine people, while seriously wounding another seven.  It was a horrible tragedy where young people lost there lives simply for doing what many of us do every day; going to school, or doing their job.  Those numbers could have been a lot higher if not for the courage of the  people who ran towards the shooter.

Chris Mintz served in the army from 2004 to 2007. In 2010, he moved to Oregon to get a fresh start. He was living with his son in a trailer, and going to UCC so he could learn to be a personal trainer.  Mr. Mintz was in the classroom next door when he heard the shooting. He immediately helped evacuate his own classroom and the students in the library.  Mintz then ran into the room the shooter was in. The shooter was still going, asking students what religion they were.  He was shooting those whose answer he did not like.
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Photo Credit: CNN
Mr. Mintz charged the shooter, and was shot three times. As he lay on the ground, he pleaded with the shooter. “Man, it is my son’s 6th birthday, please don’t kill me on my son’s birthday.” The shooter then shot him twice more. Both of Mintz’s legs were broken.

Detective Todd Spingath and  Sergeant Joe Kaney were working on another case about five miles away when they heard the call come over the radio. They immediately got in their car, sped to the college, and charged towards the shooter. they were wearing plain clothes and no bullet proof vests.  They exchanged gunfire until the shooter was hit. The shooter then retreated and turned the gun on himself.

These three men are examples of those who don’t simply have jobs, but lives where they are never entirely off duty. Lives that are always a moment from ending because of the responsibilities that come with their chosen calling.  Each of them responded without hesitation, just like countless men and women of uniform before them have. Just like many more will in the future.  Fortunately, and unfortunately.  They deserve honor, respect, and eternal gratitude.

Everyone was a victim on that horrible day.

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Photo Credit: New York Daily News

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