Oregon college shooting: Australian students narrowly missed gunman because they were running late

The Austrlalians are members of the college basketball team

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Two Australian students studying at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College narrowly missed rushing into the path of the alleged gunman - because they were running ten minutes late.

Staci Richardson and Cody Davison, both members of the college basketball team, had intended to go the library at 10.30am. 

But a friend asked them to stop and pick him up, and as a result they were a few minutes later than planned. The shooting was first reported at 10.40am.

“Literally five minutes and we could have been right in the action,” Mr Davison, 20 who is from the Gold Coast, told Seven News Brisbane. “I've been thinking about it all day. We could have been in the line of fire.”

The Sydney Morning Herald said the library where the two men were heading was just 20 metres away from where authorities allege the gunman, 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer, went on the rampage.

Mr Richardson said he felt "just grateful" at having narrowly escaped the unfolding tragedy. His friend, Joe Baldi, also survived.

“I got a text from a friend saying, ‘Stay away from the campus. There has been some shootings’,” he added.

“I am really grateful. I feel really blessed. This could have definitely happened to me.”

The college basketball team - the Umpqua Riverhawks - has a number of Australasians in its ranks; the coach Daniel Leeworthy is from Australia and New Zealanders Tama Green and Jaylen Gerrand are also in the squad.

Mr Gerrand was uninjured, but was reportedly running alongside another student who was shot dead.

"He loves it there and couldn't wait to go back. He's got friends over there and they couldn't wait to get back together," she said.

"But I always said to him: 'Be careful and don't trust everybody. Just look after yourself.' "