As shots rang out during a mass shooting on Thursday at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon that left 9 victims dead and 7 injured, 30-year-old Army veteran Chris Mintz sprang to action.
“He ran to the library and pulled the alarms and he was telling people to run, grabbing people, telling them, ‘You just have to go.’ He actually ran back towards the building where the shooting was and he ran back into the building,” said student Hannah Miles according to ABC News.
Once inside, Mintz reportedly charged headlong into danger unarmed and physically blocked the door of a classroom full of students as the gunman, identified as 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer, attempted to enter. Mintz’s family says that, as he blocked the door, he tried to talk the shooter out of continuing the killings.
Mintz was then shot multiple times. Conflicting reports suggest that he might have been struck by either 5 or 7 rounds. Between shots, Mintz reportedly pleaded that it was his son’s sixth birthday but the shooter continued firing mercilessly. In the above-embedded WNCT-TV 9 video, his family members give a detailed account of those tragic moments.
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However, Mintz, a physically imposing combat veteran and cage fighter who hails originally from Randleman, North Carolina, is currently alive and conscious at a local hospital and is expected to survive his injuries, which NBC News notes include shots to the hand, abdomen and back, as well as two broken legs.
Mintz’s cousin Ariana Earnhardt told MyFox8, “His vital signs are OK. He’s going to have to learn to walk again but he walked away with his life and that’s more than so many other people did.”
A GoFundMe page dedicated to helping Mintz deal with medical bills associated with his recovery has been launched by a family member.
According to The Daily Beast, prior to being injured in the shooting, Mintz had been working at the local YMCA and was pursuing a fitness training certification at Umpqua Community College.
Lying in his hospital bed on Friday morning, Mintz told ABC News, “I just hope that everyone else is OK.”
Mintz has been widely described as a hero on social media in the wake of the tragedy, with many commenters, including Twitter users under the hashtags #RememberTheHero and #ForgetTheShooter, calling for the wounded veteran’s name to be given more attention than that of the reportedly fame-obsessed mass killer with whom he coincidentally shares a first name.