‘You aren’t getting by me’: ‘Hero’ student tries to block Oregon gunman from classroom

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ROSEBURG, Ore. -- As a gunman went from classroom to classroom opening fire on students at Oregon's Umpqua Community College Thursday, Chris Mintz knew he had to do something.

When the gunman, Chris Harper Mercer, tried to enter the army veteran's class, Mintz, 30, told the students in his classroom to get to a safe place and said, "you're not getting by me."

"At that point, the shooter shot (Mintz) five times and the shooter moved on and apparently didn't go in to that classroom," Pastor Dennis Kreiss told People. "I applaud the guy's heroism. He may have saved the people in that classroom."

Seven other people were injured when a gunman -- identified as Chris Harper Mercer-- opened fire at Oregon's Umpqua Community College in Roseburg.

Mintz spent most of Thursday in surgery after receiving seven gunshots during the attack. Family members said Mintz was able to talk to loved ones before going into surgery, according to WGHP.

“Tries to block the door to keep the gunman from coming in, gets shot three times, hits the floor, looks up at gunman and says its my son's birthday today, gets shot two more times,” Chris' aunt, Wanda Mintz, told KCPQ.

Mintz told family members he heard gunshots in another classroom and tried to keep the gunman from entering his classroom.

“He could have very easily died,” said Wanda Mintz, the victim’s aunt. “I really think that if he wasn't such a strong, young guy, he may have died.”

Family members said both of Mintz’s legs are broken and he will have to relearn to walk, but he is now recovering and expected to survive. No vital organs were hit.

Mintz has been in the military for at least 10 years and was in Oregon, primarily, to raise his son, according to his family.

“My brother talked to Chris on the phone while Chris was walking into school to tell him to remind his grandson that grandpa said, ‘Happy Birthday,’” said Wanda Mintz.

Grandfather, father and son spent a week together before Chris began his second year of classes at Umpqua Community College. Thursday was his fourth day back.

“His vital signs are OK 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,” said Ariana Earnhardt, Chris’ cousin.

In all, the gunman killed least nine people and wounded others. One survivor says the gunman demanded that his victims state their religion before he started shooting. Mercer was eventually shot and killed by police.

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5 comments

  • Joe Berger

    Too bad guns weren’t allowed in the school. IF Mr. Mintz had been packing heat, like ALL TEACHERS SHOULD BE, then the shooter’s life would’ve ended right there, and less people been killed. It is the school’s DUTY to provide EFFECTIVE PROTECTION for children in their facility. In this day and age, that meaNs WEAPONIZED protection, not disarmament!

    • Michael Mast

      To bad there’s no evidence to support being armed reduces the chance of being a victim of a crime or increases the armed individual’s or anyone else’s safety.

      ALL CLAIMS SHOULD BE EASILY EVIDENCED by something other than emotion.

        • Mike Williams

          “Well, I say there is no evidence to deny that you’re a complete idiot!” Do you see the problem with nonsense reasoning like that? When you’re making a claim, the burden of proof is on YOU to support it. Saying, essentially, that “well, you can’t prove I’m wrong, therefore I’m right” is a strategy that most people recognize as worthless by the time they leave grade school. Also, while there is some anecdotal evidence to support your claim, there is a similar or greater amount that refutes it. The plural of “anecdote” is not “data.”

          I hope I didn’t just feed a troll.

  • Rose

    Once again a veteran or active member of our military saves civilian lives. Say what you want about our military, but this is the third time in a month I’ve heard of a situation where peoples lives were saved by one of these brave, well trained men. Our country is a better place for all of us because of the hundreds of thousands of them walking our streets, ready to step in at any moment to defend us.