The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed shock and horror at the execution-style killing of at least nine students and the wounding of nine others in a college classroom at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. While the suspected gunman’s motives remain unclear, the League said reports he may have singled out Christian students for execution are “deeply troubling.”

The gunman, identified by authorities as Chris Harper Mercer, 26, is reported to have carried at least three firearms during the assault. In his online profiles, Mercer expressed a dislike of organized religion and seems to have idolized violent groups. He died in a shootout with police.

Hilary Bernstein, ADL Pacific Northwest Regional Director, issued the following statement:

Once again, we have witnessed a mass shooting by an individual who certainly had hatred in his heart and may have been motivated by anti-Christian or anti-religion views. We are shocked and horrified at the unspeakable tragedy in Roseburg, Oregon and our hearts ache for the victims and their families. While we await more details from the investigation, if it is true that the gunman singled out victims because of their religious beliefs, it is deeply troubling and a reminder of the danger posed by those who harbor hatred and prejudice in their hearts.

Our country should not have to wake up to another mass shooting such as those we have repeatedly witnessed in the past few years – in Aurora, Colorado, in Chattanooga, Tennessee and elsewhere. We join with President Obama to echo the call for strong, effective and sensible gun control legislation. Since 1967, ADL has favored expanded federal and state regulation of the sale and transfer of firearms and other dangerous weapons. We firmly believe that one way to limit the power of extremists and others who pose a violent threat to society is to enact tough, effective gun control legislation. ADL’s Pacific Northwest Regional Office has taken the lead in promoting the passage of common sense gun laws in Washington State.