Christian college students have been singled out and murdered by a gunman in Oregon, according to reports emerging from America.
As many as nine people were killed – and a further seven injured – at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg.
A survivor of the shooting said the gunman, named as Chris Harper Mercer, first asked people if they were Christian and then told them he was going to kill them.
Another witness told a local newspaper that students were asked to state their religion and then shot dead.
Responding to the deaths Christian leader Albert Mohler spoke of hearts breaking at the news.
On his daily podcast, he said the “unspeakable tragedy” should lead us to recognise sin in the world and in our own hearts.
The Guardian reported that Anastasia Boylan was in class when a man came in shooting.
Her father, Stacy, said she survived by pretending to be dead.
He said: “From what I understood, what she said was he shot the professor point blank, one shot killed him.
Are you a Christian?
“Others had been injured and then this man had enough time – I don’t know how much time elapsed – he was able to stand there and start asking people one by one what their religion was.
“‘Are you a Christian?’ he would ask them, and ‘if you are a Christian then stand up’ and they would stand up.
“He’d say ‘because you are a Christian you’re going to see God in about one second’ and then he shot and killed them. And he kept going down the line doing this to people.”
Survivor Kortney Moore also told of the gunman asking people to stand up and state their religion.
Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, commented that the tragedy should point us back to “a deep brokenness in the world”.
He said Christians talk about this as sin – “to which the only remedy is the gospel of Jesus Christ”.
He concluded that “once again we face the fact that without that one word, without the word ‘sin’, we are unable to make sense of the world around us, not only when we read the headlines, but when we look in the mirror”.