Unanswered questions remain in Oregon college shooting

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- There are new developments in the investigation into Thursday's deadly shooting at Umpqua Community College. The state medical examiner now says the gunman, Christopher Harper Mercer, killed himself as police closed in.

Oregon student's quick thinking helps save classmate

Mercer shot nine people to death in the attack and wounded nine others.

Investigators on Saturday gave more details on the final minutes of the campus shooting, leading up to the apparent suicide of the gunman. The first law enforcement officers to reach the campus were two plainclothes detectives.

New details on Oregon gunman's link to college

"They got to the building and immediately confronted the suspect," Hanlin told CBS News. "There was an exchange of gunfire -- the suspect had fallen out of line of sight. They waited for a brief moment or so and then approached further and found the suspect on the ground. Ultimately it was from a self-inflicted gun shot wound."

Hanlin said there are still many unanswered questions.

"Right now, we're really wanting to investigate and have as complete understanding as we can as to why -- why did this guy do this to our community, why did he go in and shoot up his classroom," Hanlin said. "And it's our hope that we'll get some of those answers."

While he wants to know what motivated the shooter, Hanlin believes speaking the gunman's name glorifies his actions.

"I don't, I won't," Hanlin asserted, adding, "I'm convinced that we will get a much clearer understanding of how this guy was raised, what his issues were as he became an adult, and potentially even more recently, what snapped."

The gunman may have provided some answers. One of the wounded says Mercer handed a box of some kind to one of victims.

"We aren't prepared to comment on what he may have done in the classroom at this time," Hanlin said.

Investigators have located an additional gun in Mercer's apartment, for a total of 14 weapons recovered at the shooting scene and the suspect's home.

  • John Blackstone

    From his base in San Francisco, CBS News correspondent John Blackstone covers breaking stories throughout the West. That often means he is on the scene of wildfires, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and rumbling volcanoes. He also reports on the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley and on social and economic trends that frequently begin in the West.