An Army Vet Took Seven Bullets Charging the Oregon Shooter. Now, the Internet Is Saying Thank You

Chris Mintz was shot on his son’s birthday. Here’s how total strangers are joining forces to give his family a gift.

Chris Mintz — the hero Army veteran who took seven bullets charging an armed gunman who opened fire on innocent students at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon on Thursday — was shot by a madman on his son’s birthday. Now, the Internet is giving his family a gift.

The 30-year-old veteran had both his legs broken in the shooting and faces a long, arduous process of recovery and rehab before he can walk again. To help settle the costs of medical bills and missed income, his family set up a GoFundMe account to help deal with the influx of offers they had received since the shooting.

As of Saturday, the family has raised more than $635,000 from more than 19,000 strangers — in a single day.

According to CBS, Mintz ran toward the gunman in an effort to “protect his classmates” after the gunman tried to enter his classroom. Mintz’s aunt Wanta told CBS her nephew tried to block a classroom door “to keep the gunman from coming in.” He was shot three times before he fell, she said. As Mintz lay wounded, his aunt said he told the gunman ‘it’s my son’s birthday’ and was shot two more times.

Chris Mintz’s constitution was made from the same iron as his character — he was gravely wounded, but survived after spending most of Thursday in surgery. His cousin Derek Bourgeois, with whom Mintz had joined the Army straight out of high school, told the Daily Beast he heard Mintz is “fine (…) but he’s going to have to learn to walk again.”

A friend posted on Mintz’s Facebook page on Friday on the hero’s behalf, saying “Chris asked me to thank everyone for their support, he is grateful and keeping our community and all victims in his thoughts.” 

A comment left below the status seemed to speak for many who have heard the story of this man who ran headlong into a hail of gunfire:

You saved lives Chris Mintz. You are the one who will be remembered. You are a hero in my eyes with a warriors spirit. God bless you and your recovery.

We’ve only mentioned Chris Mintz and his family here and not the killer’s name for a reason. The gunman killed at least 10 before and wounded seven before responding officers took him out. Inspired by the on-air murder of two Virginia journalists earlier this month, the gunman reportedly sought public notoriety through committing these heinous murders.

It’s natural to study the motives of killers and natural to want to understand how they came to be. But it’s the names of the victims, and the names of truly inspiring bad-asses like Chris Mintz — or the  men who recently stopped a likely terrorist attack aboard a European train — that need to echo afterwards.

Photos by GoFundMe