While the state of Oregon continues to mourn victims of the shooting that took place Thursday afternoon at Umpqua Community College, there is a ray of light amidst the darkness.
Chris Mintz, 30, attempted to save his classmates from being shot when gunman, Chris Harper Mercer, 26, opened fire at the school, killing nine and injuring seven. Mintz’s courageous attempt ended up getting him shot seven times. The army veteran is currently in serious condition after undergoing surgery, PEOPLE reports. According to his aunt, Sheila Brown, Mintz suffered two broken legs, and was shot in the back, abdomen, and hands.
To make matters worse, Thursday was also his son’s birthday. Mintz’s six-year-old son, Tyrik, is autistic and happy his father is still alive.
During the shooting, Mintz tried to calm down Mercer in hopes of preventing any more death. He confronted the gunman, asking that he spare his life for the sake of his six-year-old son. Mercer refused and shot him several times. Brown explained to NBC News that Mintz “tried to protect some people.”
The hero from Randleman, NC spent ten years in the U.S. Army before attending Umpqua Community College.
“He was on the wrestling team and he’s done cage-fighting, so it does not surprise me that he would act heroically,” Brown said.
It’s people like Mintz that offer up hope in the most tragic of circumstances. We wish him a speedy recovery.