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A tough-as-nails Army veteran with training as a mixed martial arts fighter acted as a human shield during the deadly Oregon college rampage and was shot seven times, it was revealed on Friday.
“You’re not getting by me!” Chris Mintz, 30, told gunman Chris Harper-Mercer as Mintz blocked his path Thursday in front of a classroom at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, according to local reports.
“[He] hits the floor, looks up at the gunman and says, ‘It’s my son’s birthday today,’ [and he] gets shot two more times,” his aunt, Wanda Mintz, told Fox 8.
Chris Mintz, a student at the college, was shot in the back, abdomen and hands and suffered broken legs.
Just before his heroic stand, he ordered others to take cover.
“He ran to the library and pulled the alarms, and he was telling people to run, grabbing people, telling them, ‘You just have to go,’ ” witness Hannah Miles told ABC News.
“He actually ran back towards the building where the shooting was, and he ran back into the building, and I don’t know what happened to him.”
On Friday, as he recovered from surgery, Mintz expressed concern for the other survivors.
“I just hope that everyone else is OK,” he said. “I’m just worried about everyone else.”
The 10-year military veteran — who smiled in photos taken at the hospital — is a former wrestler and cage fighter.
“He was on the wrestling team and he’s done cage-fighting, so it does not surprise me that he would act heroically,” another 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.”
Mintz fought twice on the MMA amateur circuit, in 2011 and 2012, according to Sherdog, an MMA news site. He was knocked out in 2012 and won by an arm-bar submission the year before.
Originally from Randleman, NC, Mintz had just started college with a goal of becoming a physical-fitness trainer.
Bourgeois was stationed in Fort Bragg, NC, and Mintz was sent to Fort Lewis in Washington.
His family said he is in Oregon mainly to raise his son, whom he had with an ex-girlfriend.
“Happy birthday, Tyrik,” Mintz wrote on Facebook Thursday before the rampage.
His family was optimistic for a full recovery.
“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,” a cousin, Ariana Earnhardt, told Fox 8.
Another cousin, Derek Bourgeois, set up a page on the fund-raising site GoFundMe to cover Mintz’s recovery expenses. It had raised more than $266,000 as of Friday afternoon.
“He is a father, a veteran, a student, and now he’s a hero,” Bourgeois wrote on the page.