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Classes Classes resume Roseburg following deadly shooting

by KPTV Monday October 12, 2015    9:29 PM
ROSEBURG, OR (KPTV) - Eleven days after a gunman carried out a deadly massacre on campus, classes resumed at Umpqua Community College on Monday.

It wasn't easy, but 19-year-old Hannah Miles said extra mental health resources, prayers and community support made it possible.

"The whole community turned out to welcome everybody back and it felt like coming home," she said. Miles was in her writing class at Snyder Hall on Oct. 1 when Chris Harper-Mercer opened fire in the classroom right next door, killing nine and wounding nine others.

Miles recalled hearing rapid fire shots and people crying as she and her classmates ran to safety.

Miles reconnected with her writing class and said they appreciate each other in a way no one could ever know. "As soon as we walked in, everyone was giving hugs and just thankful that we all made it out OK," she said. UCC students and staff returned to a wave of support early Monday morning.

Friends and neighbors lined the streets near campus waving American flags, homemade signs and handing out coffee and donuts.

Becky Kitchens and her two kids showed off their signs saying this tragedy has affected the entire community. "It's a way of showing love and giving them a hug and a wave and hoping they have hope and strength to face the campus today," said Kitchens. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown toured the campus, met with students and gave out her fair share of hugs.

Despite a huge law enforcement presence, the governor knows there's still a sense of fear at UCC, but she doesn't think it will last long. "This is a very strong and resilient community," Brown said. "They will provide the support these students need to move forward." Brown and UCC President Dr. Rita Cavin walked arm in arm greeting reporters.

They are in the process of reviewing security strategies and testing new procedures, but Cavin said Monday's focus was the students. "This is all about students today," she said. "Every time we see a student and teacher interacting, they get stronger." Miles understands why some students have decided not to come back yet. "I still hear the pops and sounds and it kind of just takes me back," she said.

But she says the UCC campus is where she needs to be right now. "I know it will never be normal again, but just to start the healing process, it was great."

Copyright 2015 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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