Oregon Pagan Community loses member in College Shooting

Heather Greene —  October 3, 2015 — 65 Comments

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ROSEBURG, Ore — On Thursday Oct. 1, a 26-year old man entered several buildings on the Umpqua Community College near Roseburg, Oregon and opened fire killing a total of ten people and injuring 9 others. Among those ten victims was 59-year old Kim Saltmarsh Dietz, a local Pagan woman, who was attending classes with her daughter.


Kim Saltmarsh Dietz

When the shooting happened, family members immediately began to worry. There had been no word from Kim since the shots had been fired. Almost immediately, prayers and blessings were being expressed via Facebook from friends and family. “Kim, please be alive. Please be safe. Please call home!,” read one post.

However, hope turned to sorrow when friends and family learned that she was one of the ten victims. The Douglas County Sheriff’s office sent two officers to each home to inform the family and offer any assistance. After learning the news, Kim’s husband, Eric Dietz, confirmed the worst via Facebook, saying “It is with deep grief in my heart that I must announce that Kim Saltmarsh Dietz was one of the people killed yesterday at UCC.”  Later that day, the Sheriff’s office publicly released the names of all the victims.

Douglas County Sheriff’s office Lt. Rich Chatman told The Wild Hunt that they have a huge number officers currently working on this case because of the immense amount of data involved. When asked if officers were currently pursuing or considering pursuing any of the suggested connections to Paganism or Wicca, as publicized by various media outlets, Lt. Chatman said, “not at the moment.” He was very open about the reality of the investigation’s complexity and, at this point, the office has no idea what direction the case will take. Lt. Chatman added that, at this point, their focus is on the immediate crisis, gathering data, and talking to the victims’ families.

He did confirm that the shooter owned 14 guns, of which 13 have been recovered. Only 6 were found at the college, and the others were found in his home. All of the guns were purchased legally from licensed federal firearms dealers.

While the Sheriff’s department moves forward with its investigative work, the victims’ families must now face the process of mourning. Kim’s husband has set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for funeral and memorial expenses. According to one of the donors, Kim was a hero. On the site, Jescah Keene wrote, “She stood in front of a door to block the shooter & unfortunately lost her life.”  And, in a Facebook post, another local resident said that nursing student and friend Sharon Kirkham “was by her side trying to save her until the end.”

Graphic turning up on Facebook after the tragedy.

Since the news became public, there has been an outpouring of support from family, friends and the extended Pagan community. Originally from Mission Viejo California, Kim was closely connected to Covenant of the Goddess, whose members have been reaching out across various platforms to offer support. She was involved with the Society of Creative Anachronism, Shire of Briaroak and she worked as a caretaker at Pyrenees Vineyard and Wine Cellars.

No memorial services are currently scheduled. We are currently in touch with the family and will bring you updates as they come in.

Until that time, we simply say … What is remembered, lives!

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Heather Greene

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Heather is a freelance writer, film historian, and journalist, living in the Deep South. She has collaborated with Lady Liberty League on religious liberty cases, and formerly served as Public Information Officer for Dogwood Local Council and Covenant of the Goddess. She has a masters degree in Film Theory, Criticism and History from Emory University with a background in the performing and visual arts. Heather's book on witches in American film and television will be published by McFarland in 2018.
  • Adam La Torre

    Kim Dietz was a wonderful woman and Pagan, and I hope will be remembered for as long as it takes to have more sensible laws and restrictions on guns and ownership. Good article!

    • Mike Adkison

      How will passing more laws and restricting the rights of law abiding citizens stop gun crime? Criminals will always have access to guns, and law abiding gun owners aren’t committing these crimes. People can makeshift weapons. This push to take our gun rights away won’t end gun crime.

      • ChristopherBlackwell

        Remember this Massacre was committed by a person who bought his guns legally and was considered law abiding until he committed this crime. In fact, all of the mass murders have been committed by people that bought their guns legally. So your argument makes no sense.

        • Katy Stewart

          false Columbine – illegally obtained weapon, Newton school – illegally obtained weapons – Virginia Tech – illegally obtained weapons…check your facts.

          • ChristopherBlackwell

            I think you should check your facts. In all those cases the weapons were ought legally.

          • Raven Audron

            But not by the person who used them to kill. Check YOUR facts.

          • GilGordon

            During February and March 2007, Cho began purchasing the weapons that he later used during the killings. On February 9, 2007, Cho purchased his first handgun, a .22 caliber Walther P22 semi-automatic pistol, from TGSCOM Inc., a federally licensed firearms dealer based in Green Bay, Wisconsin and the operator of the website through which Cho ordered the gun. TGSCOM Inc. shipped the Walther P22 to JND Pawnbrokers in Blacksburg, Virginia, where Cho completed the legally required background check for the purchase transaction and took possession of the handgun.[80] Cho bought a second handgun, a 9mm Glock 19 semi-automatic pistol, on March 13, 2007 from Roanoke Firearms, a licensed gun dealer located in Roanoke, Virginia.

            Cho was able to pass both background checks and successfully complete both handgun purchases after he presented to the gun dealers his U.S. permanent residency card, his Virginia driver’s permit to prove legal age and length of Virginia residence and a checkbook showing his Virginia address, in addition to waiting the required 30-day period between each gun purchase. He was successful at completing both handgun purchases because he did not disclose on the background questionnaire that a Virginia court had ordered him to undergo outpatient treatment at a mental health facility.

            On March 22, 2007, Cho purchased two 10-round magazines for the Walther P22 pistol through eBay from Elk Ridge Shooting Supplies in Idaho. Based on a preliminary computer forensics examination of Cho’s eBay purchase records, investigators suspected that Cho may have purchased an additional 10-round magazine on March 23, 2007 from another eBay seller who sold gun accessories.

            Cho also bought jacketed hollow-point bullets, which result in more tissue damage than full metal jacket bullets against unarmored targets by expanding upon entering soft tissue. Along with a manifesto, Cho later sent a photograph of the hollow point bullets to NBC News with the caption “All the [shit] you’ve given me, right back at you with hollow points.”

          • ChristopherBlackwell

            I have checked y facts and you are simply wrong. That includes this latest mass murderer the movie theater mass murderer. The Columbine mass murderer. Eve the Sandy School killer, the mother was training him at the rifle range.

      • Brianna LaPoint

        But it does. too many rules, and the people become unruly. It doesnt make sense because the person was innocent before they did what they did.

        • BlackKatStrut

          Gun laws work everywhere they are tried.

          Perhaps limiting the types of weapons will help, I don’t know. What I do know is I’m sick of so many dieing so prevent-ably.

          • Range Dog

            They work real well in Chicago, don’t they.

      • Rin Nightingale

        Gun laws have worked in the UK

        • onebigelf

          No, they don’t. Government always talks about laws in terms of stopping those who don’t obey the law. They use tragedy committed by those who violate existing law to make new laws that serve only to extend government and restrict those who obey the law, which, by definition, does not include those in question. This tragedy occurred in a place in which no one was allowed, by law, to possess a weapon. The victims all obeyed the law. The criminal did not. How will new law serve? Mass killing can ONLY take place where the victims are helpless. That is why these gun-free zones are always the target. If half a dozen people in that classroom had been armed could the shooter have killed 9 and wounded 9 more? Reports currently state that after armed officers arrived, the killer committed suicide. If presented by armed opposition earlier, my personal feeling is that the situation would have ended with far less loss. Ultimately there is this. No government, no other person or group of persons under any circumstances, has the right to force me to give up my god-given right to defend myself and my loved ones and become a helpless victim. Certainly not for the false illusion of safety for themselves.

          • TJHillgardner

            You have almost all of your facts wrong. Concealed carry rights in OR override the Board of Regents’ declaration making UCC a gun-free zone. The evidence shows that there were numerous people concealed carrying on campus that day and they accomplished NOTHING in stopping this massacre. Finally, you presented NO EVIDENCE that gun laws don’t work in the UK.

          • Michael Adams

            Yes and no, Concealed carry into buildings on college campuses is still a bit debatable. Technically legal, due to court ruling, however still a good change you’d be expelled and have to sue to either return or get your tuition back. From Handgunlaw.us The best site I’ve found on state carry laws.

            Note: In Early March 2012 Oregon’s State Board of Higher Education voted unanimously to ban all
            firearms on the system’s seven campuses. Anyone who does any business on University property must agree
            not to carry any firearms. The policy allows people with Concealed Handgun License to be on campus but
            are barred from any Building or Arena. Any Student/Faculty or anyone who does business on University
            Property could be expelled from the property losing their student status or Job with the University System.
            Police and Military are exempt. By the Court Ruling Here they can not bar you from the buildings. I would
            use caution.

          • ghoulden

            In the UK, Police do not generally carry firearms, but there are special units with tactical weapons on hand. These are available in all areas. In my 48 years, living in South London, which some people consider to be a high gun crime area, I have never witnessed a firearms incident and only heard gunfire a few times. I do not know anyone who owns a gun, except in rural areas, and they are few and far between these days. The only person I have ever met, who had been shot, was my grandad and that was in 1916 in the Battle of the Somme! Cutting the story short, I live in a “gun-free” zone and have never felt helpless. I’m sure someone will bring up Hungerford and Dunblane, to prove me wrong, Keep in mind that both these were the result of firearms being legally supplied to unstable individuals.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            A big difference between the UK and the US is the huge percentage of the US that is, in one sense or another, actually or culturally rural. The federal government would have to cut some pretty sharp constitutional corners to propose different gun ownership rules for urban and rural zones, even if the Supreme Court hadn’t put its thumb over the part of the Second Amendment about militias and even if the NRA hadn’t intimidated enough legislators to keep the whole subject off the table.

          • ghoulden

            18.5% of UK population live in rural areas, 19.3% in USA. That surprised me, I thought the USA would be higher. I assume few people in rural areas use hand guns?

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Guns are an integral part of rural culture in the USA. The population stats mask the large tracts here that are almost uninhabited, but those who do live there generally own guns. In some of these places the nearest cop is an hour or more away.There are also a lot of guns in urban areas, and by and large that’s where the gun crimes happens. Impulses to “do something” about guns typically arise from urban events, and are unwelcome in rural areas.

          • Merlyn7

            Well as a not-rural person I’m comfy saying no one needs 14 guns.

            But no, this @&$$#%%’s right to his guns was more important to us than the lives of the people he shot. But where were the “good guys with guns” we keep hearing about? Why did all the responsible gun owners in the area fail to do their part and save those lives?

          • Ann Cummings

            From my personal experience, people in the rural USA use handguns, mostly as a defense against poisonous snakes and for self defense. You would think that violent crime is rare in rural areas, but it’s not really rare.

      • TJHillgardner

        If this incident where the shooter obtained all of his weapons legally doesn’t get through to you that the rhetoric about “law-abiding citizens” makes no sense, you are beyond hope.

    • disqus_JdrhxF9GwO

      and just WHAT would you call a “sensible” law???

  • Michael Adams

    May the Gracious Goddess and her Lord receive her into their arms with love, may she find comfort and compassion and be blessed with their love. This is a crazy nutcase problem, not a gun problem however. someone legally armed could likely have stopped him before the death toll rose this high. Sorry to bring politics into this, but,as a Wiccan, an anti discrimination activist, and a gun owner and carrier I’ll speak up when someone else attempts to use a tragedy to push such an issue.

    • Pennybird

      Let’s never use a tragedy to discuss gun control. And during a quieter week (do we go that long?) let’s not discuss gun control because it’s not in the news.

      Localities with stricter gun laws have less carnage, so yes, gun control works and it is not defined as taking guns from law abiding owners. No. It. Isn’t. But if you find gun control to be all that onerous, how about another tactic: why don’t we, as a society, man up and learn to face our fears and anxieties without lethal weapons?

      I am sick and tired of stupid men – nutcases and others – and their metal penises. I don’t understand why you don’t advocate for fewer nutcases having access to lethal weapons to at least get the heat off yourselves.

      • Michael Adams

        and this ill informed misinformation is one of the reasons I don’t like to discuss it. This post should be about condolences for the loss of a fellow Pagan. not politics. However, localities with the stricter gun laws have a HIGHER crime rate and HIgher violent crime rates than others. Your “facts” are wrong. take out the various Gun control “Paradises” the 10 or so cities with the strictest gun control laws from the violent crime statistics and the USA drops to one of the lowest violent crime rates worldwide. Simple fact, the criminals by definition don’t obey the law, gun control only affects the law abiding citizens who aren’t the problem. Let’s put harder penalties on using a gun in a crime, let’s get tougher on the existing laws, such as those that already bar the mentally unstable from owning a gun, I own guns, I carry a gun everyday, why? because I’ve been threatened in the past simply because of my faith, I’ve been shot at, I’ve had holy water thrown in my face, I’ve had a local minister threaten to run me out of my hometown. I have a right to defend myself. something the gun control nutcases don’t like. probably because most of them are mentally unstable themselves. several of the larger groups advocate the practice of Swatting, which has resulted in several deaths of innocent people. currently they’re fighting funding of an organization that supplies trigger locks to child proof guns. I thought it was supposed to be about the children?

        • Charles Cosimano

          It is a waste of time discussing it. It is sufficient to make sure the legislation does not pass. No one ever lost an office for opposing gun control, but lots have lost offices for being in favor of it. That is the only argument we need.

        • TJHillgardner

          Since mass shootings in this country now occur on a daily basis (look it up!), if we cannot discuss the politics of gun control immediately after a mass shooting, we can never discuss gun control. That’s what you want, right?

          • Michael Adams

            No, actually, I object to it being brought up on a forum that should be about condolences for the passing of a fellow Pagan, Which should focus on sympathy for her family and friends. That’s Crass,Rude and quite frankly insulting to use the death of someone for a political rally. However as a supporter of the second amendment, I’m not going to let such a comment pass without response.

      • Range Dog

        Pennybird, do women gun owners have metal penises?

        • Pennybird

          Fair question, Range Dog. I don’t know what their problem is unless it’s the misfortune of buying into NRA propaganda and not looking at the stats that show guns don’t make us safer. But murderers tend to be angry and, quite obviously, insecure men. That’s why I make the association.

      • Merlyn7

        Why should we not discuss gun laws after a mass shooting? Because it’s insensitive? What arguments made by gun owners only work when it’s in our month off from a mass murder?

    • Merlyn7

      Was he crazy? Is there evidence he was crazy?

      • Michael Adams

        He went into a gun free zone, and murdered random strangers. I think that qualifies as mentally unstable at a bare minimum. This wasn’t revenge for something the college or a student had done to him. He didn’t attend that college, this was “judging by his various posts online” more of a “everyone ignores me, I don’t get the attention I want, I’ll kill a bunch of people and Everyone will know my name” type of thing. That’s crazy.

  • wodentoad

    It frustrates me that I have seen a lot of glurge posts just like the columbine girl who “said yes” about believing in Jesus. Really it is frustrating that people are forgetting that there are other religions and even atheists who are killed in these things and the focus becomes on them or on the true/not true stories people tell about them. Thank you for covering this and my heart goes out to her and her family.

  • Christopher Petty

    You lost two members. The shooter was a pagan also.

    • That has not yet been proven to be a fact (or a factor.) But we are following the story closely and are in touch local police.

      • Susa Morgan Black

        I read somewhere that he was interested in the occult, but he was a loner, so I doubt if he was a member of any Pagan organization.

    • Florence Edwards-Miller

      The evidence I’ve seen suggests only says that the shooter had indicated Pagan/Wiccan as traits he would be interested seeing in a potential partners on a dating site (and notably he didn’t list them under his own profile.)

      In other places he also described himself as an ‘involuntary virgin.’

      So to put it crudely, he wasn’t one of us, he was just interested in fucking one of us, and for reasons that are now nationally obvious, none of us were interested.

      • cwsculptor

        Probably because many Pagans are not as sexually reppressed as most Xians (Xians because they have XXXed Christ out of their religion).

    • Natasha Rose Snodgrass

      If he were anything, it would be athiest. He stated very clearly that you did not agree with organized religion. Get your facts straight before you start spouting garbage. What’s wrong with you?

      • thelettuceman

        A check through his comments will generally answer your question.

    • Friday

      Since he apparently claimed he expected to be welcomed by a Christian Devil in a Christian Hell, not bloody likely.

    • TJHillgardner

      Don’t confuse being non-religious or anti-religion with Paganism. No one has reported that the shooter was a Pagan.

    • cwsculptor

      How could he be a Pagan and forgo the precept about “do as ye will and harm none”?

      • Cat Morse

        Because not all Pagans follow the Wiccan Rede. Many of us who follow Heathenry still identify as Pagan (Many don’t), and we certainly don’t follow that. (Not to say we approve of senseless violence either. We certainly do not.)

  • Denese Wong

    I am a pagan who lives in northwest Florida. I am so sorry for your loss!

  • Barbara Nelson

    so sad, as a wiccan and a human being, I cannot even begin to comprehend this person’s actions to snuff out all those innocent lives and wound so many others both physically and emotionally. Prayers to the Goddess for all involved. Barbaramoondance

  • cwsculptor

    Thank you for this tribute to my daughter in law. May she now walk in the light of the Goddess.
    I saw a post yesterday that said the shooter was only killing christians. I responded that not all of the dead were christian.
    Blessed be,

  • Friday

    Nothing’s forgotten.

  • Deporodh

    “Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly, lavender’s green/
    when I am king, dilly dilly, you’ll be my queen.”
    “Who told you so, dilly dilly, who told you so?”
    ” ‘Twas my own heart, dilly dilly, that told me so!”

    I enjoyed the time I spent with you. I was honored to retrieve a soul
    piece as a student shaman. And your name will join others on my altar of
    the beloved dead…

    Heather, thank you for writing this. It was years ago that I knew Kim, but I cherished our time together.

  • BoGardiner

    I’m sorry for your loss. It’s so disrespectful to her memory that she’s being characterized throughout the media as a Christian martyr.

    • Friday

      Oh, is she? I’ve heard it claimed the shooter was ‘targeting Christians’ but hadn’t heard they were claiming this of her in particular. I’ve seen at least one article simply not mentioning her or her family’s religion, though.

      • BoGardiner

        Not of her by name, but of the group in its entirety. Yet only two of the deceased are definitively Christian. The professor, for instance, was a Jewish-raised secularist.

    • cwsculptor

      Kim was a Pagan, Eric is a pagan, Eric’s mother (me) is a Pagan/Atheist (because the Goddess doesn’t care what you are), two of her sisters i law are Pagan, etc.

  • disqus_JdrhxF9GwO

    May The Goddess embrace her child.

  • Range Dog

    My heart goes out to the family.

  • Chelsea Olivia Montgomery Youn

    Kim I didn’t know you but I’m sorry you had to lose you life in a careless act by a man who should of been locked up in a mental hospital in a padded room long ago along with his mother rip Kim I’m sorry for your family and loved ones to lose you

  • SincerelyChaos

    May the Goddess hold her gently. Blessed Be.

  • How many more innocent lives have to be lost before the dumbass gun toters realize more guns mean more deaths. Get rid of the fucking guns and tighten up the laws. Do the right thing politicians and start saving lives and not putting money into the fucking useless NRA.

    • Michael Adams

      Let’s get rid of the gun free zones instead, virtually every mass shooting of strangers has happened in one. why do you suppose that is?

  • Lynnette PurpleRain McFadzen

    Unbelievable. An article to honor a woman who was murdered and it turns into a shoot out over gun control. Rest in Power Kim…

    • Michael Adams

      agreed, this is not the place for such a discussion, I’d prefer to have it on Defensive carry forums “which we are” or on one of the various gun control facebook pages, but they ban anyone who disagrees with them.

  • Pearl Battaglia


  • Sandra Busey

    Sadness for our Sister Kim…the entire pagan community sees you as a hero and goddess that you are. Love and healing to her family