Sheriff Hanlin: 'Continue the healing process for as long as it takes'

    Sheriff John Hanlin (SBG)

    ROSEBURG, Ore. - As John Hanlin sat at his desk preparing for another day as sheriff of Douglas County, he heard the first calls come over the scanner October 1.

    "Then I heard a couple more units advising dispatch they were responding, and I could tell in their voice that whatever this incident was that they were responding to was a high stress very important call," he recalled.

    The sheriff felt that he better respond as well.

    Once he checked his laptop in his patrol car, he recognized how bad it really was.

    "It was an active shooter at UCC, and naturally my heart sunk," Hanlin said. "I literally felt the blood rush out of my head in disbelief - I don't want to say disbelief. Really shock."

    Sheriff Hanlin's office is downtown.

    It didn't take him long to make it to Snyder Hall.

    Two Roseburg Police detectives just happened to be even closer.

    Hanlin knows their fearless response that day saved lives.

    "There's no doubt in my mind that had they taken a couple extra minutes to come up with a plan, or wait for more officers to arrive, or even to pull over and put on their ballistic vests, we would have lost several more people in that classroom that day," Hanlin said.

    The next several hours were chaotic as they worked to secure the campus and treat the victims.

    The sheriff wishes they had more grief counselors at the Douglas County Fairgrounds as students and families reunited - or waited for those 9 people who didn't make it.

    Hanlin said that's just one of the many lessons learned that day.

    And even though the shooter died that day, Hanlin said the UCC shooting is still an open investigation.

    "Trying to understand why he may have carried out this crime," he said.

    The FBI is conducting a behavioral analysis in an attempt to get inside the killer's mind in an effort to prevent the next mass shooting.

    They're also working to determine if the shooter's mother will face any charges.

    But Hanlin doesn't waste much time thinking about the gunman. After the shooting, he said: "You will never hear me mention his name."

    He's focused on his community and making sure his first responders have the help they need to deal with what they went through.

    "We've set ourselves up to continue the healing process," he said, "for as long as it takes."

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