Meet Chris Mintz, the MMA Fighter & Army Veteran who was shot 7 times saving others during the Oregon shooting
At 12:51 a.m. on Oct. 1, Chris Mintz posted a happy birthday message on Facebook for his son.
Little did he know that just hours before another message was posted on a more obscure social media forum, warning people not to go to school that day. Little did he know that he would end up in a hospital on his son’s birthday with several gunshot wounds, being hailed a hero.
Family speaking to several different media outlets have said Mintz, an Army veteran, tried to protect other people at Umpqua Community College when a gunman identified as 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer opened fire and killed at least nine people. Mercer also died following a shootout with police.
“We were told he did heroic things to protect some people,” Sheila Brown, Chris Mintz’s aunt, told NBC News.
“I was told he went after the shooter,” his cousin, Derek Bourgeois, said to the U.K.’s DailyMail. “There was no way he was going to stand around and watch something this horrific happen.”
Wanda Mintz, his aunt, told WGPH-TV her nephew was shot three times trying to block the gunman from entering a classroom.
“[He] hits the floor, looks up at gunman and says ‘It’s my son’s birthday today,’ gets shot two more times,’” Wanda Mintz told the news station.
WGPH reported that Chris Mintz, originally from North Carolina, was in Oregon to raise his son and noted that he had been in the military for at least 10 years. Bourgeois told the Daily Beast they both were in the Army and both had been deployed before.
Mintz suffered two broken legs as a result of the shooting and will require physical therapy to recover, according to Derek Bourgeois, Mintz’s cousin, who launched a GoFundMe crowdfunding page on behalf of the Mintz family to help with medical bills and time out of work.
The campaign has raised more than $4,600 in the first hour after its launch. The final goal is $10,000.
“While Chris is not the type of person to ask for it,” wrote Bourgeois, “he is going to need all of the help he can get while he recovers!”
In a post to his Facebook page Friday morning, someone identifying himself as a friend of Chris Mintz wrote that he “asked me to thank everyone for their support, he is grateful and keeping our community and all victims in his thoughts.”
Thursday’s massacre is considered the worst mass shooting in recent Oregon history. Police are not saying whether they know of any motive yet.
“It’s been a terrible day,” said Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin, who wouldn’t name the shooter during a news conference so as not to “give him the credit he probably sought prior to this horrific and cowardly act.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.