Oregon mass shooting survivor posts account of blood, pain and healing

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 17, 2015 3:01 PM

By Fiona Ortiz

(Reuters) - "The shots knocked me to the ground and felt like a truck hit me," wrote Chris Mintz in his first public account of being shot five times during the deadly rampage at an Oregon community college while trying to warn fellow students to take cover.

Mintz, a 30-year-old U.S. Army veteran who has been hailed as a hero for his selflessness during the attack at Umpqua Community College in the town of Roseburg, described shooter Chris Harper-Mercer as emotionless.

He was "nonchalant through it all, like he was playing a video game," Mintz wrote on his Facebook page about the Oct. 1 massacre.

Harper-Mercer, 26, killed nine people before being shot by police then killing himself in the deadliest mass shooting in the United States in two years.

"It started so normal, the day that is," Mintz wrote in a graphic, blow-by-blow account of the minutes before and after the shooting. He said his writing teacher was reviewing assignments with students when they heard yelling from the classroom next door.

"We all got up and took off out of the classroom and I stopped and held the door open and waited for everyone to leave safely. We all took off running down the breezeway toward the library," the posting late on Friday read. "A counselor kept screaming that someone needed to tell the people in the library, and I told her id do it," he wrote.

Mintz described running through the library warning people, then heading back toward Snyder Hall, where shots had been fired.

Mintz wrote that he looked through a classroom door but did not know where the shooter was. He told a screaming, injured student and other people to stay down.

"There was so much blood and it was so dark," he wrote.

Mintz said he put his back against a classroom door and yelled to a man in the parking lot to call the police.

"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.

"He shot me again while I was on the ground and hit my finger," Mintz wrote. He said the shooter blamed him for calling the police, and tried to shoot his phone.

"I yelled 'its my kids birthday man' 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.

"I tried to push myself back against the classroom door but I couldn't move at all. My legs felt like ice, like they didn't exist, until I tried to move."

Mintz, who apologized to any families of the victims or survivors who may have been upset by his account, also thanked first responders and hospital staff who treated the wounded.

"THEY are the real heros, they saved us," he wrote.

(Reporting by Fiona Ortiz in Chicago; Editing by Frank McGurty and Matthew Lewis)