An Army veteran was shot seven times after confronting the man responsible for nine deaths Thursday at an Oregon college when the shooter attempted to enter the class the former soldier was attending, multiple media outlets reported.
Mintz's family told KING 5 in Seattle and other media outlets that he'd served in the Army for about 10 years, and a family member told The Daily Beast that he'd made at least one combat deployment. Army personnel records provided to Army Times on Friday show Mintz served as an active-duty infantryman from May 2004 to March 2007, making no combat deployments and advancing to the rank of specialist before being administratively discharged as a private. Details on the administrative action were not immediately available.
After training at Fort Benning, Georgia, Mintz served the rest of his time on active duty at Fort Lewis, Washington, with 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Army records show. He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Army Support Ribbon while in uniform.
Thursday was his fourth day attending Umpqua Community College, six miles north of Roseburg, Oregon, and about 180 miles south of Portland.
"The shooter was originally in the classroom next to his," Mintz's cousin, Ariana Earnhardt, told WFMY-TV, the CBS affiliate near Mintz's hometown of Randleman, North Carolina. "He heard the gunshots so he told the people in his classroom to just be calm. He came and he met the shooter at the door. He was like, 'You need to calm down.' I guess he tried to talk to him and talk him out of it and he shot him."
After he'd been shot at least once, Mintz told the gunman it was his son's sixth birthday and "to please not do this," WFMY and USA Today reported. The shooter — 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer — ignored his pleas and shot him again.
He was shot a total of seven times, according to Shelly Stefanich, a spokeswoman for Mercy Medical Center. an interview with NBC NewsThe 30-year-old wrestled while in the Army, KING 5 reported, and was an amateur mixed martial arts fighter after leaving service.