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Oregon Shooter A "Gun Enthusiast"

The 26-year-old behind America's latest mass shooting at a college in rural Oregon, appears to have been a gun enthusiast who hoarded an arsenal of weapons and was obsessed with religion.

Though police have yet to formally name him, the gunman behind the murder of nine people at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, has been widely identified as 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer.

As a portrait of the shooter - who died in the carnage - began emerging on Friday, authorities said they had recovered 13 weapons belonging to him, including six at the school.

Celinez Nunez, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told a press conference on Friday that a flak jacket with steel plates and five magazines were also found laying next to a rifle at the school.

The rampage on Thursday in the close-knit rural community prompted an impassioned new plea for gun control by President Barack Obama who said America had become "numb" to the horror of mass shootings.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon added his voice to calls for action to curb gun violence saying it was taking an "appalling toll" on American society.

Authorities said they were still trying to determine what prompted the killings.

Several reports said Mercer, who apparently had no tied to the college, may have been seeking notoriety."

He appears to be an angry young man who was very filled with hate," the New York Times quoted an unnamed law enforcement official as saying.

Another official told the Los Angeles Times that the young man, who lived with his mother, was obsessed with guns and religion and had leanings towards white supremacy.

Witnesses have said that he demanded to know his victims' religion before gunning them down.

"They would stand up and he said 'Good, because you're a Christian, you're going to see God in just about one second'," Stacy Boylan told CNN, relaying his daughter Ana's account. 

She survived by playing dead.

Mercer's father Ian, reached by reporters in LA, would only say he was shocked.

"It's been a devastating day," he said.

With AAP

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