Chris Mintz is being hailed as a hero for charging the Oregon community college shooter to protect his classmates, but as the 30-year-old Army veteran recovers from his five gunshot wounds, his only thoughts are with the others hurt in the shooting.
In the wake of Thursday’s tragic shooting on the campus of Umpqua Community College, Mintz’s story has emerged as one of the sole bright points. The gunman who opened fire on the campus killed nine people and injured nine others, but it appears that total could have been much higher were it not for the heroics of Chris Mintz.
Now Mintz is speaking out for the first time since the shooting, telling ABC News that he is still thinking only of the well-being of the other students.
“I just hope that everyone else is OK,” he told ABC News this morning, less than 24 hours after the shooting. “I’m just worried about everyone else.”
Here’s your hero! Chris Mintz, Army vet used to live in Tacoma. He rushed the gunman and survived being shot 7 times pic.twitter.com/0lj8JF67or
— John R. Knicely (@KnicelyKIRO7) October 2, 2015
While Chris Mintz may be humble about his actions, classmates say he is a hero. Not only did Mintz confront the gunman, reportedly pushing back against a door to keep the attacker from entering, but he also put himself at risk to warn others when the shooting started.
Mintz actually had the opportunity to escape the massacre but instead chose to run toward the shooting in an attempt to save lives.
“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,'” witness Hannah Miles told ABC News. “He actually ran back towards the building where the shooting was and he ran back into the building and I don’t know what happened to him.”
Mintz also tried to convince the gunman to stop the massacre.
“He told the people in his classroom just be calm. He met the shooter at the door and said to calm down. He tried to talk to him and talk him out of it,” his cousin Ariana Earnhardt told WFMY-TV.
Though the actions didn’t get the alleged gunman to stop shooting, it may have bought critical time for police to respond. Officers were reportedly on the campus within minutes of receiving 911 calls, and the attacker was killed in a shootout with officers.
Many are now trying to help Chris Mintz and the long recovery he faces. Family members said the gunshots left him with two broken legs, and it will take a long rehabilitation before he can walk again.
Some family members started a GoFundMe page to help Mintz pay for his medical bills, and it has been a viral success so far. In just a few hours the total topped $170,000, with the total increasing by a rate of about $1,000 each minute.
The page noted as follows.
“During the shooting both of his legs were broken and he is going to have to go through a ton of physical therapy.
While Chris is not the type of person to ask for it, he is going to need all of the help he can get while he recovers!
Myself and many family members have been swamped with requests for us to setup a gofundme page, so this is us fulfilling that request and we appreciate your concerns and assistance.”
Chris Mintz was in the military for 10 years and moved from his native North Carolina to Oregon to be closer to his young son. It was that boy’s birthday on Thursday.
Classmates in the room when Chris Mintz confronted the gunman said he tried to tell the shooter that it was his son’s birthday. But the shooter fired two more times, witnesses say.
[Images via Chris Mintz/Facebook]