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As the sound of gunfire erupted at Umpqua Community College, Army veteran Chris Mintz acted on instinct, throwing his body against the door to prevent the gunman from entering his classroom.

The killer shot his way inside to continue his rampage as terrified students ducked and took cover. Mintz was hit in the hands, abdomen, back and both legs.

The Army vet had taken five bullets, when he told the killer, “It’s my son’s birthday.” In response, the gunman fired two more shots into him.

Mintz, 30,  is expected to recover after undergoing surgery , but orthopedic surgeons told his family he may have to learn how to walk again.

The veteran enlisted in the Army after graduating from high school in North Carolina. He served ten years, three of which were as an infantryman reaching the rank of specialist. He was deployed to Iraq and received the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon.

His service record is at stark contrast with that of the killer who was discharged from the Army after only one month in 2008 for “failure to meet minimum standards for service.”

He moved to Oregon after his discharge and began studying at the community college to become a fitness trainer. He also works at the local YMCA.

Mintz’s family established a GoFundMe page to help cover his medical bills, which are expected to be significant given the nature of his injuries. The fund set a goal of $10,000, but had reached nearly $500,000 in a matter of hours, as thousands of donors reached out to show support for the heroic veteran.

"He is a father, a veteran, a student, and now he's a hero," the page reads. "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!"

At an evening press conference, Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin made the following statement: “Let me be very clear: I will not name the shooter. I will not give him the credit he probably sought. You will never hear me use his name. Focus your attention on the victims and their families and helping them recover.”

The campus of over 3,000 students, faculty members and administrative staff was protected by a single security who was unarmed save for a can of mace.

 

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