Umpqua Community College Student Called Mom When Shots Rang Out

Lisa Welding offered her daughter instructions and support.

ByABC News
October 2, 2015, 8:20 AM

— -- Cassandra Welding was working on her homework.

A typical Thursday. 10:30 a.m. Welding sat in the Snyder Hall computer lab at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, listening to her teacher talk about assignments, when she heard something, “a really loud ka-pow noise, almost like a balloon popping,” she told ABC News.

Someone, later identified by law enforcement sources as Chris Harper Mercer, 26, had opened fire in an adjacent classroom.

A classmate of Welding’s went to see what was happening.

“She opened the door and, unfortunately, she got shot twice and she fell down and collapsed,” Welding said.

The classmates huddled, trying to call 911. Busy. Welding tried again. Busy. Busy. Eventually the call went through. “And when I finally get a hold of them, they told me, ‘Oh, is this for the shooting at Umpqua?’ I said, ‘Yes it is and hurry up and get here because we have a person shot in the classroom,’” she said.

Welding’s classmate, wounded with gunshot wounds to the arm and lower abdomen, struggled to breathe. A friend performed CPR.

As the classmates waited, sheltering in place, Welding called her mother, Lisa Welding, speaking through tears. Mom offered daughter instructions and support.

“First thing, make sure all of the doors are secured and make sure you start barricading,” Welding told her daughter. “If there’s anything there, I don’t care how, just make sure you guys are all safe to keep somebody out.”

The students secured the door and waited.

Mother and daughter stayed on the phone together for 45 minutes or so, until the students were released from the classroom – a brutal, abnormal Thursday morning in Snyder Hall.