President Barack Obama has called for the US to reconsider firearms policy after nine people were killed and more than 20 wounded in a shooting at a community college in Oregon. Police have killed the suspected shooter.
President Barack Obama called on Americans to pressure their legislators on firearms policy after nine people were killed Thursday at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, a city of about 20,000 people roughly 260 miles (435 km) south of Portland, Oregon. Police say they have killed the 26-year-old suspected shooter.
"America will wrap everyone who is grieving in our prayers and our love," Obama said. But, he added, prayers were "not enough."
Schools are frequent sites of mass shootings in the United States. In his seventh year as president, Obama has addressed gun violence 15 times after shootings in cinemas, on military bases and even on live television. The killings have fueled demands for more gun control in the United States, which has a strong firearms lobby.
"We are the only advanced country on Earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every few months," Obama said. "Somehow this has become routine," he added. "The reporting is routine, my response here at this podium ends up being routine … We become numb to this."
Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, until recently Obama's perceived successor, said she couldn't comprehend how "we are seeing these mass murders happen again and again and again."
'A terrible day'
The shooting rampage at Umpqua Community College began shortly after 10:30 a.m. local time (1730 UTC). Governor Kate Brown identified the suspect as a 20-year-old man, but authorities did not give further details, except to say that he died in an exchange of gunfire with police. CNN reported that authorities recovered four guns belonging to the shooter at the scene.
"It's been a terrible day," Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said. "This is a peaceful community," he added. "We have our share of crime like any community, but certainly this is a shock to have this level of a crime."
The Oregonian newspaper reported that the shooting had also critically injured at least six patients. Obama pleaded with the electorate to ask legislators for stricter gun laws.
"This is a political choice we make to allow this to happen every few months in America," Obama said.
mkg/jm (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)