An Army veteran tried to stop the gunman from entering a classroom during the deadly rampage at a community college here and was shot at least five times, according to the man's aunt.
After Chris Mintz fell to the floor, wounded, he looked up at the shooter, said it was his son's birthday and asked the gunman to stop, Wanda Mintz told The Associated Press on Friday.
"He's lucky to be alive, and we're grateful he's alive," she said of her 30-year-old nephew, a student at the college.
Mintz was recuperating at a hospital in Roseburg.
In an interview with ABC News, he said: "I just hope that everyone else is OK. I'm just worried about everyone else."
Speaking by phone from her home in Randelman, North Carolina, Wanda Mintz got a description of what happened from her nephew's girlfriend.
She said Chris Mintz went through seven hours of surgery and is expected to survive.
"Chris is a tough guy," she said.
She said Chris Mintz was in class at Umpqua Community College when he heard gunshots.
"He was in the military and knew what it was," she said.
Chris Mintz told other students to remain calm and went to the door as the shooter came across the hallway.
His aunt said the gunman shot her nephew three times at the door. After Chris Mintz fell, he told the armed man, "It's my son's birthday today. Don't do this."'
The gunman then shot him at least twice more and proceeded into the classroom.
She said her nephew tried to crawl away but couldn't move because of his wounds.
He was hit in both legs, his stomach, the back and in the hand, but the bullets did not hit any of his vital organs, she said.
He has two rods in his legs, she said, and is going to be in a wheelchair for the foreseeable future.
"It's going to be a long, long recovery," said Wanda Mintz.
She said she spoke with her nephew briefly Friday morning. She said he told her he was in a lot of pain.
Chris Mintz was born and raised in Randelman, about an hour and a half west of Raleigh, North Carolina. His son, Tyrik, turned 6 on the day of the rampage, Wanda Mintz said.
Chris Mintz was in the Army, stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, then moved about nine years ago to a base in the West. He never saw combat, his aunt said.
She said he's an athlete and was studying body building and nutrition.
Chris Mintz left the military a few years ago and was a part-time student at Umpqua, she said.
Mike Gwaltney, a swim coach at the YMCA where Mintz worked, said he wasn't surprised to hear how Mintz, a fellow veteran, reacted.
"It's something that Chris and many others are trained to do," he said. "He's a pretty tough cookie."
Gwaltney said he saw Mintz at the hospital as he was coming out of surgery.
"For the most part, he was in very good spirits," Gwaltney said.
Breed reported from Raleigh, North Carolina; AP reporter Alina Hartounian contributed from Phoenix.