Yet knowing what preceded the Umpqua gunman's decision to open fire provides essential context amid the nation's quest to stop a seemingly endless stream of mass shootings.
Together, these elements provide a window into his mindset leading up to the massacre -- the final chapter of an aimless life, steeped in isolation and stoked by a passion for guns.
Law enforcement officials initially said nine people were injured in the shooting, based on the number of survivors seen at area hospitals.
Authorities have not said whether the gunman had a mental health history that should have stalled these acquisitions.
Prosecutors are still trying to determine if anyone should face criminal charges.
Police only encountered Christopher Harper-Mercer once during the two years he lived in Winchester, Oregon.
A deputy stopped Harper-Mercer in March 2014 as he walked along a railroad trestle near his home, shown here on Dec.
The massacre at Umpqua Community College was the deadliest school shooting in Oregon history.
"Our lives are shattered beyond repair," the family of victim Quinn Cooper said in describing the act of a "deranged" shooter.
He marveled at how a stranger in Virginia shot and killed two people on live television and captivated the world.