Obama stirs mixed reaction with Oregon visit

  • 10/10/2015
Jeff Hill (R), 60, of Chiloquin, protests the visit by U.S. President Barack Obama to the town of Roseburg, Oregon (Reuters)
Jeff Hill (R), 60, of Chiloquin, protests the visit by U.S. President Barack Obama to the town of Roseburg, Oregon (Reuters)

US President Barack Obama has flown to Oregon to meet relatives of victims of a deadly rampage at a community college, as shootings at two other campuses left two dead and four wounded.

Hundreds of people gathered at the local airport to greet Obama on Friday but he definitely earned a mixed reception.

While one sign said "Welcome to Roseburg," others read "Obama is wrong" and "Nothing Trumps Our Liberty" - clear signs his visit to the conservative rural community is not welcomed by all.

Obama delivered an impassioned plea for stricter gun controls after last week's shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, in which a 26-year-old gunman shot nine people dead.

His spokesman Josh Earnest said ahead of the visit the president wanted to "spend time with the families of those who are so deeply affected by this terrible tragedy".

But the father of one girl shot in the back but who survived by playing dead accused Obama of politicising the tragedy and said he had declined an invitation to meet him.

"On principle, I find I am in disagreement with his policies on gun control and therefore, we (the family) will not be attending the visit," Stacy Boylan told Fox News.

Local newspaper publisher David Jaques also denounced the visit, saying Obama was not "welcome here to grandstand for political purposes".

The city of Roseburg issued a statement on Tuesday saying such comments did not represent the community as a whole and that the president would receive a warm welcome.

The October 1 shooting in Roseburg has revived the thorny debate on gun control in America - and two more deadly incidents on Friday were sure to fuel the discussion.

In Arizona, one person was killed and three others suffered multiple gunshot wounds at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff before the gunman was captured.

The first emergency calls came through 1.20am, when most NAU students would have been in bed.

"Two of our student groups got into a confrontation. The confrontation turned physical and one of our students shot the other students. Four of our students were shot," said Gregory Fowler, chief of NAU police.

"We have one student deceased and three others being treated at the Flagstaff medical centre."

The alleged shooter has been named as 18-year-old freshman Steven Jones. All the victims were male.

It was not immediately clear what the confrontation was about but Jones was co-operating, Fowler said.

NAU spokeswoman Cindy Brown told CNN the incident occurred in a parking lot next to a residence hall, which is a designated "gun-free" zone with 20,000 students.

In Houston, one person was killed and another wounded at a campus apartment complex at Texas Southern University, police said, adding that one possible suspect had been detained.

Houston police said the incident "does not involve an active shooter" but the university nonetheless placed the campus on lockdown and cancelled classes for the day.

AFP

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