Dylann Roof, James Holmes and Adam Lanza have become household names in the United States. Sadly, most of us are less familiar with the names of the victims of those mass shooters, or the names of the first responders who risked their own lives to save others in the wake of terrible violence.
That's why we'd like to introduce you to 30-year-old Chris Mintz, an Army veteran and student at Umpqua Community College (UCC) in Roseburg, Oregon, who reportedly risked his life to save others during yesterday's mass shooting.
According to statements his aunt made to Q13 Fox News in Oregon, Mintz, who'd just begun his first week of classes at UCC, was shot at least five times while trying "to block the door to keep the gunman from coming in," in an attempt to protect other students. Miraculously, Mintz is still alive, and despite his gunshot wounds and two broken legs, he is reportedly expected to recover.
Business Insider reports, "After the gunman gained entry to the classroom, Mintz got shot three times, hit the floor and then looked up at the gunman and said 'it's my son's birthday today,'" according to Chris's aunt, Wanda Mintz. "He then reportedly got shot two more times."
The Daily Beast has reported that Mintz's son, Tyrik, turned six yesterday.
The Daily Beast also spoke with Mintz's cousin, Derek Bourgeois, another Army vet, and reported that "Bourgeois was somewhat amazed that a guy who survived a combat deployment without serious injury had come so close to being killed in a small Oregon town not unlike the one in North Carolina where they grew up together."
According to the same report, "Bourgeois said he and Mintz had both joined the Army after graduating from high school. Bourgeois had been stationed in Fort Bragg, but Mintz had been sent to Fort Lewis in Washington state. They had both been deployed."
Bourgeois wasn't surprised, however, to learn that Mintz, who'd reportedly studied martial arts and hoped to become a personal trainer following his return from deployment, would do something so heroic. "It sounds like something he would do," Bourgeois told The Daily Beast.
Mintz's family have set up a fundraising site to help out the family, since Bourgeois noted that Mintz might have a long recovery ahead of him. “From what I’m hearing, he’s fine,” he told The Daily Beast. “But he’s going to have to learn to walk again.”
Let's publicly lend him our support through that process, and remember his name -- instead of remembering the name of the shooter.