Christopher Mintz is being hailed as a hero in the wake of the Umpqua Community College shooting, with reports that the Army veteran charged the gunman to protect classmates and ended up being shot five times.
Family members said Mintz was inside the building when the suspected gunman opened fire, an attack that would leave nine people dead and another nine wounded.
Chris Mintz was one of those wounded, family members said. They recounted a heroic story of Mintz charging the gunman, attempting to block the door to his classroom, and blocking the shooter from killing more people inside.
Mintz, a North Carolina native who was in the army for at least 10 years, moved to Oregon to attend school and raise his son.
It was the boy’s fifth birthday on Thursday, family members said.
“Tries to block the door to keep the gunman from coming in, gets shot three times, hits the floor, looks up at gunman and says, ‘it’s my son’s birthday today,’ gets shot two more times,” his aunt, Wanta Mintz, told CBS News.
Mintz survived the shooting, but family members said his legs were broken, Q13 Fox reported.
“His vital signs are okay. 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,” said his cousin, Ariana Earnhardt.
In a day marked by tragedy, many hailed Mintz’s selfless act as a bright point and called for him to receive attention, rather than the gunman.
Chris Mintz. What a example of what it means to be a American Hero. Guys and Gals like this are true hero’s pic.twitter.com/r00mHEPqWs
— Goof-Bucket (@MrEd_EVH) October 2, 2015
In an editorial published on Friday, the Daily Beast said that Chris Mintz is the name worth remembering from the tragic Oregon community college shooting, not the suspected shooter.
“The one to remember is 30-year-old Chris Mintz, the student and Army vet who was shot at least five times while charging straight at the gunman in an effort to save others.”
It is unclear how many lives Chris Mintz may have saved during the Oregon community college shooting, but it seems that even buying time for police to arrive may have made a difference.
Though the college is located in a relatively small community in southwestern Oregon without a large amount of police resources, officers were on the scene within minutes. The suspected gunman was killed in a shootout with police.
The shooting started in Snyder Hall at close to 10:30 a.m. local time on Thursday. Police said all of the dead were in one building that has six to eight classrooms, with victims in multiple rooms.
While details are still emerging, some witnesses said the gunman appeared to target Christians. After asking students what religion they followed, those who answered that they were Christians were shot in the head while those who had a different answer or did not answer at all were shot in the legs, reports indicated.
Student Anastasia Boylan, who was shot in the spine, said the gunman appeared to be taunting students before killing them.
“And they would stand up and he said, ‘Good, because you’re a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second,'” Boylan’s father, Stacy, told CNN, relaying her account. “And then he shot and killed them.”
After confronting the Oregon community college gunman and being shot six times, Chris Mintz now appears to have a long recovery ahead. Family members said he will need to go to rehab before being able to walk again, a process that could take months or more.
[Images via Chris Mintz/Facebook]