An Army veteran shot five times during a rampage at an Oregon college has recounted how the gunman looked like “he was playing a video game and showed no emotion.”
In a Facebook post, Chris Mintz recalled that the day of the massacre at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg “started so normal” with him laughing at a teacher’s jokes during a writing class.
“There was a bunch of yelling that started in the other room, my teacher walked up to the door that connected our classroom and asked if everyone was OK, no one could tell what the yelling was,” Mintz wrote. “The teacher knocked on the door and there were gunshots that sounded like firecrackers going off.”
Mintz said he held the door open as classmates ran toward the library, where he eventually followed and warned people there by running through the aisles shouting.
He then ran back towards the campus’ Snyder Hall, screaming at oblivious students to run for their lives.
“I saw a young girl who seemed to just be showing up to school and I yelled at her, ‘You can’t be here … there’s somebody shooting, you need to leave’,” Mintz recounted. “Her face, it changed, she seemed so scared. This is when I started making my way towards the classroom, I was walking slower, but as fast as a could because I didn’t know where he was. I got to a classroom and looked into the door because it had a glass slate, a guy that was further away and hiding behind cars startled me and yelled, “Don’t man, he’s going to shoot you, man.”
Mintz said he could see only a single female student through the door but recalled that “she was screaming and yelling and covered in blood.”
He motioned to her to be quiet — not realizing that the classroom was actually full of people.
“All of a sudden, the shooter opened the classroom door beside the door to my left, he leaned half of his torso out and started shooting as I turned toward him,” Mintz wrote in his account on Facebook. “He had a black shirt on, a shaved head, was tan and wearing glasses, he was so nonchalant through it all, like he was playing a video game and showed no emotion. The shots knocked me to the ground and felt like a truck hit me.”
“I laid there, in a fetal position unable to move and responded, ‘I didn’t call the cops, man, they were already on the way,’” Mintz wrote. “He leaned further out of the classroom and tried to shoot my phone. I yelled, ‘It’s my kid’s birthday, man’ [and] he pointed the gun right at my face and then he retreated back into the class. I’m still confused at why he didn’t shoot me again.”
Mintz said he “tried to push myself back against the classroom door but I couldn’t move at all.”
He added: “My legs felt like ice, like they didn’t exist, until I tried to move. When I moved pain shot through me like a bomb going off.”
Police arriving at the scene initially didn’t know whether Mintz was the shooter or not. He explained that he’d been struck by the gunman’s bullets and directed officers to the classroom where firing had been coming from.
“I don’t recall a lot after that,” he wrote. “While still laying there, some students ran out of the classroom, some covered in blood … A friend came out of the classroom and kneeled down beside me, traumatized and crying, I think she tried to pray with me, the only thing I could say was, ‘It’s my son’s birthday” [and] “please call my son’s mom and tell her, ‘I can’t pick him up from school today.’”
Mintz recalled that he recognized a friend who works as an EMT among one of the first responders on the scene of the mass shooting.
“I looked up and saw him walk up to the classroom door and said, ‘hey, buddy.’ He looked at me and responded, ‘hey.’ When I saw him, I KNEW WE WERE ALL GOING TO BE OK.”
Mintz apologized for any pain caused to victims’ families or survivors by his Facebook statement.
But he added: “I have to thank all the people who responded and everyone in the hospitals. THEY are the real heroes, they saved us.”
Mintz was allowed to return home from the hospital six days after the Oct. 1 rampage, in which he was shot five times — leaving him with both legs broken.
“I am recovering well and thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers,” he wrote.” All the support I have received is overwhelming … I am so happy with how the community has bonded and supported everyone during this healing.”
Originally from Randleman, North Carolina, Mintz served about 10 years in the Army and had just started college.
In the aftermath of the massacre, Mintz’s aunt Sheila Brown told NBC News that he had “tried to protect some people” and she had been told that had done “heroic things.”
However, Mintz had not previously given his personal account of the incident.