‘It’s my son’s birth­day,’ hero pleaded with Ore­gon shooter

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

A U.S. 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.

Chris Mintz, 30, who was study­ing to be­come a fit­ness trainer at Um­pqua Com­mu­nity Col­lege in Rose­burg, sprung into ac­tion Thurs­day when the shoot­ing be­gan, urg­ing peo­ple to flee and run­ning to­ward the build­ing where the killings were tak­ing place, his fam­ily and wit­nesses said.

Mintz tried to pre­vent the gun­man — widely iden­ti­fied as Chris Harper Mercer, 26 — from en­ter­ing a class­room by throw­ing his weight against the door.

But the gun­man man­aged to blast his way in and shot Mintz seven times, ig­nor­ing pleas that it was his son Tirek’s sixth birth­day.

“He told him, ‘please don’t do this, it’s my son’s birth­day to­day,’” Mintz’s cousin Ariana Earn­hardt told CNN.

The fam­ily said that Mintz was shot in the back, ab­domen and left hand and suf­fered two bro­ken legs.

“He’s go­ing to have to learn to walk again,” Earn­hardt said. “But he walked away with his life, and that’s more than so many other peo­ple did.”

A GoFundMe cam­paign set up by the fam­ily to help with Mintz’s re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion had raised more than US$450,000 by late Fri­day.

“Yesterday my cousin Chris Mintz was shot 7 times while try­ing to pro­tect oth­ers from the gun­man at Um­pqua Com­mu­nity Col­lege,” Derek Bour­geois wrote on the page, which car­ried a photo of a smil­ing Mintz in his hos­pi­tal bed.

“He is a fa­ther, a vet­eran, a stu­dent, and now he’s a hero,” he added.

“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!”

Mike Gwalt­ney, a friend of Mintz, told CNN that he had vis­ited him at the hos­pi­tal and said Mintz was thank­ful to be alive.

“He’s sad like ev­ery­body else ... but he’s ready to start the road to re­cov­ery,” Gwalt­ney said.

Gwalt­ney said Mintz had tried to “talk some sense” into the shooter, “tried to see if he had ... a heart and clearly we know now he didn’t.”

Nine peo­ple died in the mas­sacre on Thurs­day. The shooter, who owned 13 weapons, six of which were found at the col­lege along with a flak jacket and am­mu­ni­tion, was killed in a shootout with po­lice.

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