A sheriff is refusing to speak the name of Oregon school shooter Chris Harper Mercer, but this name does deserve to be spoken: Chris Mintz. Family members say the 30-year-old Army veteran and second-year student at Umpqua Community College charged Mercer in an attempt to protect others, was shot at least five times—including in the back, abdomen, hands, and both legs—and survived, reports NBC News and the Winston-Salem Journal. Originally from North Carolina, Mintz joined the Army after high school and was deployed overseas during his 10 years of service, his cousin Derek Bourgeois tells the Daily Beast. He moved to Oregon a few years ago to care for his son, Tyrik, who turned 6 on Thursday. "It's my son's birthday, it's my son's birthday," Mintz reportedly said after he was shot.
Relatives tell Fox8 that Mintz heard gunshots while in a classroom and tried to block the shooter from entering it. "He's a big guy," Bourgeois says, adding Mintz dabbled in mixed martial arts and was thinking of becoming a fitness trainer. Charging the shooter "sounds like something he would do," he says. Another student, a nurse, held his hand and prayed with him after desperately administering CPR to a dying victim, reports the Daily Beast. Family members say both of Mintz's legs were broken and he'll have to learn to walk again, but none of his vital organs were hit and he's now in stable condition after surgery. (Click for more on the shooting.)