ROSEBURG, United States (AFP) - An army veteran is being hailed as a hero for charging the gunman during a mass shooting at a college in Oregon, before being shot despite pleading that it was his son's birthday.
Chris Mintz, 30, who was studying to become a fitness trainer at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, was shot five times by the gunman identified as Christopher Harper Mercer.
Mintz's family said he threw himself against the classroom door when the shooting began on Thursday to prevent Mercer from entering.
But the gunman managed to blast his way in and repeatedly shot Mintz, ignoring pleas that it was his son Tirek's sixth birthday.
"He gets shot three times, hits the floor, looks up at the gunman and says 'it's my son's birthday' and gets shot two more times," Mintz's aunt, Wanda Mintz, told Fox 8, a CNN affiliate.
"He could have very easily died," she said.
She said Mintz was shot in the back, abdomen, left hand and once in each leg but is expected to recover.
"He's going to have to learn to walk again," Ariana Earnhardt, Mintz's cousin, told Fox 8. "But he walked away with his life, and that's more than so many other people did."