Was the Oregon mass shooting an Islamist attempt to assassinate Alek Skarlatos?
By Matthew Vadum
Was last week's massacre at Umpqua Community College in Oregon a failed attempt to assassinate a Christian American hero for thwarting a Muslim terrorist train attack this summer in France?
There may simply be a series of unlikely coincidences at play, or there may be circumstantial evidence suggesting that anti-jihadist hero Alek Skarlatos was an intended target of Chris Harper-Mercer, who put several Christians to death in an Umpqua classroom on Thursday, Oct. 1 for being Christian.
Read on and decide for yourself if Harper-Mercer may have wanted to make an example of Skarlatos for the world to see.
And although no evidence revealed thus far directly indicates Harper-Mercer was influenced by Islamic State, plenty of evidence suggests the shooter was acting in furtherance of the Islamic goal of global jihad. Maybe the massacre was intended as a kind of jihadist payback hit.
Islamic State (a.k.a. ISIS, ISIL, and Daesh) apparently claimed responsibility on Twitter for the killings Harper-Mercer carried out at Umpqua. The tweet states, "Again #Oregon #USA #WashingtonDC #IslamicState #ISIS #USA[,]" and displays a graphic with the words “Slay Americans” in front of an image of a man in the process of being beheaded.
In August the very high-profile Skarlatos, a devout Christian, helped to disarm Ayoub El-Khazzani, a Moroccan with ties to radical Islam, on a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris. The Islamist was armed with a Kalashnikov rifle, a Luger pistol, and a box cutter. Skarlatos and his two American friends traveling with him received France's highest honor, the Legion d'Honneur, from French President François Hollande. Last month they were feted at the White House and the Pentagon. Skarlatos received the U.S. Army's Soldier's Medal.
Skarlatos has publicly acknowledged that he is currently a student at Umpqua, near Roseburg, Ore., and that he was supposed to be attending classes there on Thursday when Harper-Mercer went on a bloody rampage.
More specifically, Skarlatos said he was supposed to be present that day in Snyder Hall, the same building where Harper-Mercer carried out his massacre.