Mathew Downing, an 18-year-old Umpqua Community College student, was the “lucky one” singled out by shooter Chris Harper-Mercer to survive and deliver a package to law enforcement authorities after Thursday’s massacre on the UCC campus, The Associated Press and other media outlets reported Tuesday.
Downing attended Skyview High School in Vancouver, Wash., according to his Facebook page. On Sunday, he attended church services in Roseburg with another survivor of the shooting, Lacey Scroggins, 18, at New Beginnings Church of God, where her father, Randy Scroggins, is pastor.
Downing’s mother, Summer Smith, sat next to her son at the service, according to various media reports and AP photographs.
Smith said in an interview with CNN reporter Dan Simon that the gunman told her son: “You — with the glasses — stand up,” before telling him he would be the “lucky one” to survive the murderous assault in a UCC classroom.
“That’s when the shooter gave him what he was told to give to police,” Smith said.
The Register-Guard was unable to contact either Downing or his mother on Tuesday.
The gunman handed Downing an envelope containing a flash drive, CNN reported.
Law enforcement officials, speaking anonymously to various media, found a two-page manifesto from Harper-Mercer at the scene, but it’s unclear if the manifesto and/or something else was on the flash drive.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has not commented on the manifesto or any flash drive and did not return a phone call on Tuesday seeking comment.
Smith told CNN that after her son took the envelope, he was told to sit in the back of the room and watch as Harper-Mercer resumed killing his classmates.
“He doesn’t know how to deal with it right now,” Smith said of her son. “I don’t think he can register what happened yet. It’s just too much.”
Randy Scroggins, who did not return an email message on Monday, spoke for his daughter on Sunday when he told The Oregonian newspaper that he’s convinced his daughter survived because one of the students who was killed, 20-year-old Treven Anspach, rolled on top of her after he was shot. Aspach and Lacey Scroggins were former classmates at Sutherlin High School.
“Nobody will ever truly know, but we believe he intentionally moved onto Lacey,” Scroggins told the Portland newspaper, adding that the shooter stood over the two, shouting at his daughter to “Get up! Get up!” Instead, she pretended to be dead.
Ana Boylan, another 18-year-old survivor who was shot in the back and released from Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield on Tuesday, echoed Scroggins’ comments during an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” that aired Monday.
“He said, ‘The kid in the glasses, get up,’” Boylan said. “‘I need you to do me a favor. This is your lucky day,’ and (he) hands him this, like, business envelope, because he wasn’t going to be able to do that after he was done killing us, and he’d said he was going to kill himself.”
Smith, Downing’s mother, told CNN that the shooter fatally shot the classroom’s writing instructor, 67-year-old Lawrence Levine, and two students before he addressed her son.
“Mathew said, at that point, he didn’t quite get what the shooter said,” Smith said in the interview. “He thought he was standing up to die. And when the shooter gave him what he was told to give to the police, he was then sent to sit in the back of the room, facing the room, and to watch what was going on.
“Mathew said he froze,” his mother said. “He didn’t make a single move. He was afraid to look away, that if he did anything to make the shooter notice him, that he would be shot. So, he just sat there” and watched as the gunman killed six more before, according to the sheriff’s office, he shot himself to death.
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