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Roseburg killer's mother says he had Asperger's syndrome

By Gosia Wozniacka and Brian Melley

Associated Press

PORTLAND — The deadly shooting last week at an Oregon community college has an eerie parallel with the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 20 pupils and six adult staff members in 2012.

Like Adam Lanza, the gunman in the Connecticut massacre, Christopher Harper-Mercer was living a mostly solitary life with a mom who shared his fascination with firearms.

Both stories illustrate the struggles parents face caring for a deeply troubled child, struggles that can inadvertently lead to a volatile outcome made easier by ready access to weaponry.

Two Baker men charged with poaching deer

Two Baker City men have been charged with illegally killing multiple buck deer, and wasting the meat, after a 10-month investigation by Oregon State Police fish and wildlife troopers in Baker City.

Dustin Reid Hellbusch, 18, is charged with 10 counts of taking/possessing a buck deer, eight counts of waste of a big game animal, and one count of tampering with evidence.

Taylor Michael Morris, 18, is charged with eight counts of taking/possessing a buck deer, seven counts of waste of a big game animal, and one count of tampering with evidence.

Police expect to arrest more suspects in the case, which started in November 2014 after a report to the state’s “Turn In a Poacher” (TIP) program.

OSP is asking the public for more information about this case. People can call Sr. Trooper McNeil at 541-523-5867, extension 4171, or call the TIP hotline at 1-800-452-7888 or by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Haggen wants to auction stores on Nov. 9

The Haggen grocery chain has asked a bankruptcy court to approve the company’s plan to try to sell some of its stores, including the one in Baker City, by auction on Nov. 9.

Bids would be due on Nov. 2, and a court hearing to consider the auction results would take place Nov. 24, according to the schedule Haggen has proposed.

Water supply holds up

Baker City’s drought-depleted water supply is keeping up with demand.

The 11 streams and springs in the city’s watershed in the Elkhorn Mountains west of town are producing about 2 million gallons per day (MGD), Public Works Director Michelle Owen said.

Creating Careers

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Kylie Siddoway, right, and Hailey Zikmund are partners in the study of sustainable agriculture. Both girls, who live on ranches, said they look forward to careers in agriculture.

Baker Technical Institute Expands To The Middle School

Kristen Spaulding walks calmly through the flurry of activity in her fourth-period Baker Middle School classroom guiding students through computer-led, hands-on assignments.

The renovated space, which formerly housed the school’s teachers lounge, is the new home of the middle school version of Baker Technical Institute.

Spaulding says teaching middle schoolers is a job she enjoys and finds she’s well-suited for.

“It’s not for the faint of heart, but I like it,” she says as she guides a room filled with 30 students clamoring for her attention as the clock ticks off the 52 minutes they spend in the BTI classroom.

County, Forest Service discuss coordination

A Wednesday meeting at the Baker County Courthouse was the beginning of a coordination process between county and Forest Service officials concerning land management policies.

Topics at the meeting — which allowed public attendance, but no public comment — were related to wildfires that burned about 150,000 acres of forest and rangeland in the county this summer.

Neighbor says Umpqua shooter "seemed really unfriendly"

A neighbor of the man who went on a deadly shooting rampage at an Oregon college says he "seemed really unfriendly."

Bronte Hart lived below 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer in the community of Winchester. She says Mercer would "sit by himself in the dark in the balcony with this little light."

Hart says a woman she believed to be Mercer's mother also lived upstairs and was "crying her eyes out" Thursday.

Mercer was identified as the man who opened fire at Umpqua (UHMP'-kwah) Community College, killing nine people.

He then died after exchanging gunfire with responding officers.

Megan (Brookshire) Shaffer, 2007 BHS grad, completed nursing degree at Umpqua C.C. this spring

Megan (Brookshire) Shaffer, a former Baker City resident, graduated from Umpqua Community College this spring and is working as a registered nurse at Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg.

Shaffer, 26, is a 2007 Baker High School graduate.

She was at her home in Sutherlin, about 10 miles north of Roseburg, this morning when a 20-year-old man opened fire in a building at the Umpqua Community College campus, killing 10 people.

Sheriff: 10 killed in shooting in Roseburg

Shooting happened at Umpqua Community College 

ROSEBURG — Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said 10 people were dead and seven wounded in a shooting this morning at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg. The shooter, a 20-year-old man whose name has not been released, is also dead.

Earlier, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said 13 people were killed in the rampage at Umpqua (UHMP'-kwah) Community College in Roseburg.

It's unclear what led to the discrepancy. Hanlin has said the gunman died after a shootout with police. He didn't clarify whether the shooter was included in the 10 fatalities.

Hanlin says three people who were critically injured in the shooting have been transferred to hospitals in the Eugene area.


Replace Haggen?

Kathy Orr/Baker CIty Herald

Economic developer Greg Smith said he hopes to meet with officials from grocery chains, including WinCo Foods

Baker County’s economic development director hopes to meet with officials from multiple grocery chains, including WinCo Foods, in his campaign to find a grocer to buy the Baker City store that Haggen plans to close Nov. 25.

“This is really important,” said Greg Smith, the contract economic developer for the city and county. “The last thing we want is to have an empty storefront of that magnitude in Baker City."

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