A fearless Army veteran was being hailed a hero Friday for charging the crazed gunman who went on a shooting rampage at Umpqua Community College.
Chris Mintz, who was enrolled as a student at the school, was shot seven times as he attempted to tackle Chris Harper-Mercer in a bid to save his terrified classmates.
"There was no way he was going to stand around and watch something this horrific happen,' Mintz' cousin Derek Bourgeois told Daily Mail.com.
Mintz, 30, who suffered two broken legs and various internal injuries, was rushed into surgery at a hospital near Roseburg, where the deadly massacre occurred. He is expected to fully recover.
"He was on the wrestling team and he's done cage-fighting so it does not surprise me that he would act heroically," Mintz's aunt Sheila Brown told NBC News.
"It was a great, great shock ... We've all been sitting on pins and needles and praying very hard … [He's an] an extremely good guy."
Mintz's aunt, Wanda Mintz told FOX8
: "He could have very easily died. I really think that if he wasn't such a strong, young guy, he may have died."
Ten people were killed and more than 20 were injured when Harper-Mercer opened fire on students and reportedly may have been targeting Christians. He was shot dead by police sharpshooters.
Mintz joined the Army after graduating from high school and was stationed Fort Lewis in Washington. After a 10-year stint in the military, he moved to Oregon to help raise a son, took a job at a YMCA and enrolled at Umpqua.
He plans to become a fitness coach after graduation, his family said.
In a fateful twist, the bloodbath occurred the same day as the birthday of Mintz's son, Tyrik, who turned six. Just hours before the shootings, Mintz wished his son a happy birthday on Facebook.
The Daily Beast
reported that Mintz could be heard saying, "It's my son's birthday," as he lay bleeding from seven gunshot wounds.
In a recent Facebook post, Mintz had reflected on his life, stating, "Memories are what makes life worth living, even the bad ones bring you the ability to love the good ones. So if you're lucky, you'll find the stars in your life and make a lifetime of one of a kind memories."
Mintz' cousin Ariana Earnhardt told Fox8: "He's going to have to learn to walk again but he walked away with his life and that's more than so many other people did."
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