Shootings have personal link for local man

The incident that left nine people dead and several others severely wounded on the campus of a community college in western Oregon hit close to home for one Seymour man.

Tim Molinari grew up near Umpqua Community College and earned an associate degree in general studies there in the 1970s.

Thursday’s incident, which began when a lone gunman opened fire in a classroom, has left him with two thoughts, the 58-year-old said.

“I can either curl up in a ball and hope this stuff goes away or become a more engaged citizen and do what I can to mitigate or lessen the impact of these things in our society,” he said.

Molinari said such incidents don’t seem real to most people when they happen somewhere else.

“They tend to be someone else’s problem,” he said.

In this case, however, Molinari said he has family living in that area and some of his classmates work at Umpqua Community College. He said he hasn’t heard from anyone he knows at the college yet, including a friend who is now a security guard there.

The shooting occurred in a classroom in Schneider Hall, which contains about six classrooms, Molinari said.

“I had my English and writing classes in that building,” he said.

The family still owns a home there and spends time in Oregon each year, he said.

Molinari was born in Portland, Oregon, and moved to Sutherlin, Oregon, in 1962, when he was 5. Sutherlin is located off Interstate 5 about 3 or 4 miles north of the campus. Roseburg, which is about the size of Seymour, is just south of the campus, he said.

After graduating from Umpqua, Molinari went on to receive a bachelor’s degree from Oregon State. He wound up in Sacramento, California, where he met his wife, Bridget, who grew up in the Medora area. In August 2007, the Molinaris moved to Seymour.

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Aubrey Woods is editor of The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at awoods@tribtown.com or 812-523-7051.