Los Angeles

Firearms Expert Says He Rejected Gunman's Weapons Training

A man claims the shooter who went on a mass killing in Oregon approached him in Torrance when he wanted firearms training, but he rejected him.

Eloy Way, a firearms instructor, said he rejected Chris Harper-Mercer's application after having met him for just five minutes.

"He called me," Way said. "He seemed normal on the phone. I didn't turn him down because I thought he was going to go and shoot somebody. I turned him down because he seemed a little bit too eager to learn high-level tactics like what law-enforcement and military people do. And he seemed immature and high strung."

Mercer attended a Torrance school for students with emotional issues.

In 2008, Mercer enlisted in the United States Army but was released after about one month, according to the Pentagon.

Mercer then shared a Torrance apartment with his mother.

Four years ago they moved to Oregon where neighbors recall Mercer as "troubled."

"I thought he was kind of an odd guy, he was kind of like a grown little kid. He would have tantrums if something didn't go his way."

Way feels there's a lesson in his encounter with Harper-Mercer.

"Somebody called, said his name," Way said. "I was like, oh ... I got my staff together and explained to them that this is exactly why we screen people."

Authorities said Mercer collected 13 firearms, all legally purchased by him or family members from a federal gun dealer.

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