Heroic Umpqua student charged straight at gunman to save lives

ROSEBURG, Ore. (KGO) -- An Army veteran is recovering from seven gunshot wounds after witnesses say he charged straight at the man who opened fire at an Oregon community college.

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Witnesses say 30-year-old Chris Mintz, a father and a student, charged at the shooter on Thursday, shouting at his classmates to run.

"He ran to the library and pulled all the alarms and he was telling people to run, grabbing people and telling them you have to go and he actually ran back towards the building where the shooting was," eyewitness Hannah Miles said.

That's where family in North Carolina say Mintz blocked the doorway into a classroom as the gunman shot him repeatedly.

"Hits the floor, looks up at the gunman and says, 'It's my son's birthday.' Gets shot two more times," Mintz' aunt Wanda said.

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Mintz didn't want to die on his son's birthday and, miraculously, he survived.

He is alert and awake at the hospital as he recovers.

"I just hope that everyone else is OK," he told ABC News Friday morning.

"He's going to have to learn to walk again but he walked away with his life and that's more than so many other people did," cousin Ariana Earnhardt said.

His cousin has set up a GoFundMe page to help the family cover medical expenses.

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Nearby, Cassandra Welding witnessed a classmate get shot twice. "We were all just terrified," she said.

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She huddled in a corner with her cell phone and told Robin Roberts she thought it was the last time she'd ever hear her mom's voice.

"My first instinct was I knew I had to be the calm person here, the adult, so I was trying to calm her down and, in the meantime, just saying make sure you lock and barricade. All I knew was barricade," mother Lisa Welding said.

Welding says her classmates were simply too scared to move as 35 to 40 shots were fired one room over. She's grateful to be alive.

ABC7 News reporter Wayne Freedman is in Roseburg. You can see his reports during our evening newscasts or follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Click here for full coverage on the Oregon college shooting shooting.

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