By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
The tragedy of the deaths and wounding of students and faculty of Umpqua Community College was without doubt a terrible event. We first and foremost must center our prayers and attention towards the victims and their families who have endured suffering and pain that we hope to never experience ourselves.
But if anything can be praised it is the police, emergency crews, and community members who took upon the risks and the responsibility to protect the victims and provide at least a measure of comfort to the survivors and those who did not make it. One person in particular truly caught my attention and I am sure everyone else as well. He is Chris Mintz, who undoubtedly saved several lives but as a result became one of the shooting victims himself.
His actions are truly heroic as you may certainly agree.
Chris Mintz was attending class at Umpqua Community College when he heard shots ring out in an adjacent room. Instead of running for safety, the ten year military veteran went toward the scene, directing people away from the danger. He found and walked toward the shooter, trying to prevent him from entering another classroom by blocking the doorway. He attempted to calm the shooter by talking to him and trying to buy time and life for the other students. Mintz certainly knew the great risk of facing this armed attacker alone and it did not go well for him.
Chris was hit multiple times from gunfire and went down. As the gunman walked toward him, Chris told his assailant that today was his son’s birthday. Showing no mercy his assailant shot him again.
In all Chris was shot seven times trying to protect others. Authorities credit Chris with delaying the shooter and in doing so likely saved numerous lives. Though exact details of the events are still in flux with reporting information, it is clear Chris Mintz’ actions were heroic and lifesaving.
Police arrived six minutes after the active shooter dispatch went out. Every second in distraction of the shooter helped law enforcement arrive and be able to more quickly confront the gunman, who then committed suicide.
A hospital spokesperson stated that Chris suffered hits to his hands, arms, back, stomach and both legs were broken. Despite this he is expected to recover but he will need extensive rehabilitation.
I cannot stress how brave his actions were and how inspiring his story can be for many.
His cousin sponsored a GoFundMe petition to help defray the costs of his medical bills. Social media took hold and contributions from seventeen thousand donors rapidly poured in. Initially ten thousand dollars was requested in the fund drive, but in the first twenty two hours over half a million dollars poured in from grateful citizens. It is certainly enlightening.
I have to stress that Chris Metz was not the only victim and that others suffered as much or worse as lives were tragically lost. Other victims now have similar pages started but have not yet garnered such large donations. Those also deserve contributions as well. Since it is only the beginning of such things I will at a later time attempt to compile a list of other victims’ pages or sources where funds may be directed in their direction.
UPDATE:Officials announced the shooter committed suicide during the shout-out with police.
By Darren Smith
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