Roseburg Parish Prepares for Prayer Service Following Shooting

Father Jose Manuel Campos Garcia, pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Roseburg, Ore., could not come to the phone. He was out at the local hospital, ministering as he could to the families of the victims of today’s shooting at the local community college. According to police, 10 have died and nine wounded in the massacre at Umpqua Community College.

The parish administrator Pauline Schulze said that police were still finding victims as they searched the rooms of the college so it was unclear how high the final toll would be. The parish will be hosting an ecumenical prayer service tonight to pray for the victims. Local families are being sequestered by police now as victims are identified and their names have not yet been released. She could not say if any of the kids gunned down today were members of St. Joseph’s, but “Roseburg is a small community”—26,000 people, she said. “People may not go to church here, but they are all part of our community.”

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Police report that the 20-year-old gunman was killed and four weapons were recovered at the scene. The first 911 calls reported shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., at 10:38 a.m., local officials said, and the college was locked down as law enforcement agencies responded. Roseburg is about three hours south of Portland. According to a spokesman for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department, the shooting occurred in Snyder Hall, a building on campus where science classes are held.

The kids who go to Umpqua come from working class backgrounds, Schulze said, out of families working in farming or raising cattle. The region’s wineries are also a source of work for many.

“It has been a chaotic day here,” said Schulze. “Lots of people calling, wondering what they can do. This is a community that wants to come together to help.

“I just told them to tell everybody about the prayer service tonight and to keep the families in their prayers.”

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