Father of Roseburg survivor believes victim saved his daughter
Randy Scroggins struggled to hold back his tears. He couldn’t.
“I truly believe Treven saved my daughter’s life,” the father of Lacey Scroggins said of Treven Anspach who died Thursday morning in a shooting at Umpqua Community College.
Lacey Scroggins, 18, of Roseburg was one of a handful of students who survived the shooting in Snyder Hall 15 without a physical injury. Through her father, she said that Anspach partially covered her as he reacted to being shot and killed. She believes that his blood that flowed onto her clothing and under her helped save her life by giving the impression she was already dead.
“Treven is our family’s hero,” Randy Scroggins said. “Lacey is alive today because of our faith in God, and No. 2, Treven’s blood saved her.
After staying out of the media spotlight, but fielding many requests for interviews, Randy Scroggins agreed to tell his daughter’s story of that morning.
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“The family talked to Lacey about it, and she said, ‘I just can’t do it,’” the father said. “She knows the story needs to be out there, to help put the pieces together, but she said, ‘Daddy, I just can’t do it.’ So she asked me to stand in for her. That’s why I’m here.”
Randy Scroggins, the pastor of the New Beginnings church in Roseburg, sat in the building’s sanctuary Saturday afternoon and relayed what his daughter had to say about the ordeal, and how she and her family were reacting to it in the aftermath.
“We have a very strong family, a very close family,” Randy Scroggins said. “In describing our complexion, I’d say we’re extremely grateful, more than I can put into words.
“One moment Lacey is laughing, the next moment she is crying,” the father continued. “She is going through a survivor guilt syndrome. ‘Why me? Why am I alive?’ At times she feels sad about being alive, and other times, she’s grateful.”
Randy Scroggins recalled that on Thursday morning before Lacey’s 10 o’clock writing class at UCC, the two were out practicing driving a stick shift car that had just been purchased for the student. At 9:30, the father dropped his daughter off at the school and he returned home.
At around 10:50, the phone in the Scroggins’ house rang. Lisa Scroggins, Lacey’s mother, answered it.
“I could hear crying and wailing on the other end,” Randy Scroggins said. “I was hearing my daughter. I could hear Lacey say, ‘They’re shot, they’re shot.’”
Randy Scroggins immediately headed out the door en route to UCC to get his daughter. His wife stayed on the phone with their daughter.
Randy Scroggins was stopped at the road block that was set up by enforcement officers at the entrance to College Road. But after a short while, he was reunited with his daughter when she was brought to him by an officer after she was questioned. She had blood on her clothes, but was physically unhurt. The father and daughter returned home where Lacey haltedly and emotionally told her story to her parents. This was Lacey’s first week of college after graduating from Roseburg High last June.
“She said everything was normal, just another day,” Randy Scroggins said, recalling his daughter’s comments. “About 10:30ish, she hears a pop, looks over and sees a little hole in a window. All of a sudden, a guy comes into the room, and shoots into the ceiling. Lacey said it was the same guy who was in class Tuesday. He was the most vocal, asked the most questions, participated the most.
“He shouts for everybody to get down,” he continued. “Lacey got down. She looks to her left, she saw him shoot a young man and he went down. At that time, she was thinking this is a drill, she is waiting for somebody to say, ‘OK, this is a drill.’
“She looks up and the teacher is gone. She sees him shoot another student and she puts her head back down. Somewhere in there she realized this is not a drill.
“The next thing she hears is ‘You in the orange shirt. Stand up. What religion are you? Are you a Christian?’ Apparently the answer was yes, she hears a pop and then she hears a thud as the body went down.
“He called another one, asked, “What religion are you?’ If they said Christian, she heard a pop and a thud. If they said anything other than Christian, it was ‘Ouch’ as they were shot in the leg.
“She heard him call another guy up and he said, ‘I’m not going to kill you. You’re going to live today. There’s a backpack in the corner with a flash drive and it’ll tell everybody everything about what went on today.’ Then he shot that guy.
“He called up another, a woman. He told her to beg for her life. She did, then he shot her.
“Somewhere in there, a man came to the door and said, ‘What’s going on in here.’ The guy shot him. The man said, ‘Don’t shoot. It’s my son’s birthday.’ The guy kept shooting.
“He then told everybody to get closer in the center of the room. He got agitated because we were moving too slowly. He then started shooting people. Lacey was in the prone position, her head on her hands that were out in front of her. The lady next to her had been shot.
“The young man, Treven, was in the same position as Lacey, but about 12 inches or so forward of her. The next thing Lacey remembers is a loud bang, she said so loud her ears began to ring. Then she felt the body of Treven on her side. She felt warm. She opened her eyes and looked under her arm.
“I could see the blood as it crept under my arm and on me. She said, “Daddy, I knew then, today I’m going to die.’ At that point, the shooter yelled down at Lacey to get up, get up.
“‘Daddy, I knew I was dying, but I froze to the floor. I couldn’t move.’
“The shooter looked at the next woman who had already been shot and asked, ‘Is she alive?’ She said, ‘I don’t know.’ The shooter crossed over the bodies and shot another person.
“Another lady said to him, ‘I’m so sorry, somebody must have hurt you sometime, I’m so sorry.’ He said, ‘ I bet you are, but that’s not good enough.’ He shot her.
“Then Lacey says she heard all kinds of gunfire. Then she heard him say, ‘You got me. I’ve had enough. I’m done.’ She says she looked over and he was down. He was not moving.”
“Knowing my daughter,” Randy Scroggins continued, “it’s not surprising she stood up, went to a lady behind her who was dying, took off her scarf and tied a tourniquet. Then she went to other lady, took off her coat, tied another tourniquet and told the woman to put her thumb on it to stop the bleeding.
“Then the police came over and took her away. She made the phone call home and fell apart.”
Randy Scroggins said as a father he was “grateful, fortunate, pleased, lucky” to have his daughter back. As a pastor, he said he’s “blessed, appreciative of who God is, and yet not understanding of why one is taken and one is not.
“I’m a believer God knows more than any of us, and I will never presume to understand his plan,” Scroggins added.
When asked about the shooter, Chris Harper-Mercer, the pastor emphasized one word.
“I call it evil. The whole tragedy is evil,” he said. “I don’t believe we need to soak as a community or as a family in that evil. We need to find some way to find hope in this so we can get through this. I know to move on will be harder for those who have suffered a death in their family, for those who have lost a loved one.”
Randy Scroggins said he and his family will never forget Treven Anspach and his family.
“How do I honor that family?’ he asked. “I will love and take care of the girl he saved. How will Lacey honor him? By making something special with her life.”
Lacey Scroggins is in the nursing program at UCC and her goal is to become a surgeon.
The father said his daughter has already been a victim and in her mind doesn’t want to remain a victim so she plans to attend church this morning and then resume her job at a care center in the afternoon. Today will be her first day to spend time outside of her family circle since Thursday morning.
When asked what her daughter would have to say at this time, Scroggins said, “The first thing she would say is thank you to her community for coming together the way it has. She is proud to be a part of a community that is this close knit. With the life that has been given to her, she will do her best to make Roseburg proud.”
Scroggins said he has faith Roseburg will recover.
“My heart is grieving for those people who lost their lives,” he said. “That Thursday is a horrible, horrible day in the life of Roseburg. I can’t even imagine their grief because I have my daughter, but we do grieve with them and mourn with them.
“I promise you this,” he said. “Just like my family will get through this, so will Roseburg. That’s the faith I have in my city. We will all get through this.”
• News-Review reporter Craig Reed can be reached by calling 541-957-4210 or by email at email@example.com.