Mintz’s family told WFMY News 2 that when the shooting erupted, he told his classmates to remain calm then went to confront the heavily armed Harper-Mercer, who was later shot and killed in a gun battle with sheriff’s deputies.
If it’s possible for a feel-good story to emerge from the tragic shooting in Oregon that saw ten people die, including the gunman who was killed by police, it would be the story of Army veteran Chris Mintz.
“Tries to block the door to keep the gunman from coming in, Gets shot three times”, his aunt said.
After Chris Mintz fell to the floor, wounded, he looked up at the shooter, said it was his son’s birthday and asked the gunman to stop, Wanda Mintz told The Associated Press on Friday.
An army veteran was hailed a hero for charging the gunman during a mass shooting at a college in Oregon, before being shot despite pleading that it was his son’s birthday. He was awarded France’s highest honor and his popularity won him a spot on the dancing competition show.
Bourgeois said he is still unsure of the details of his cousin’s actions on Thursday.
The fundraising page, which includes a picture of Mintz smiling wide from his hospital bed, transformed into a public wall of admiration.
“He was in the military and knew what it was”, said Mintz’s aunt, Wanda Mintz.
Instinct made him run to the door of the classroom to shield his fellow pupils from the gunman’s onslaught.
In a Facebook update from hospital, Mintz said, “Hope the others injured and their families are doing well”.
Scroggins also said his daughter heard the gunman tell one victim he would spare that person’s life if the student begged, then shot the begging victim anyway.
It wasn’t clear if he was enrolled at the college in the small town of Roseburg, but she and a few students say they thought he was taking classes.
He is a student at Umpqua Community College who is taking classes to become a personal trainer, according to his brother.
Bourgeois said he was not surprised by the news that his cousin tried to save lives during the Roseburg shooting.
“I carry to protect myself – the exact same reason this happened”, said Casey Runyan, referring to the Thursday’s shooting.
Originally from Randleman, North Carolina, Mintz served about 10 years in the Army.
“The ones that were shot, that’s one level of trauma”, she said at a news conference Thursday.
At an apartment complex where Harper-Mercer and his mother lived in Southern California, neighbours remembered him as a quiet, odd young man who rode a red bike.
“9/11 changed America in many ways, but our love of guns and hunting runs deep”, said Tom, adding that Harper-Mercer did not buy the guns from him.
Both of Mintz’s legs were broken, and he would have to relearn to walk, according to relatives.