On the morning of October 1, 2015, shots were fired at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. A 26-year-old student opened fire, killing nine people and injuring at least nine others. Following a gunfight with police, the student then killed himself. According to KGW Portland News, this is the deadliest shooting in Oregon’s history.[1]

Victims’ ages ranged from 18 to 67, some of whom were students on only their fourth day of college. Chris Mintz, a 30-year-old Army veteran and student studying fitness training at the college, was one of the many injured from this horrific event. Mintz was shot seven times as he blocked a doorway in an attempt to stop the shooter.[3] According to Hannah Miles, Mintz’s main concern during the shooting was the welfare of others: “He ran to the library and pulled the alarms and he was telling people to run, grabbing people, telling them, ‘You just have to go.’ He actually ran back towards the building where the shooting was… and I don’t know what happened to him.”[4] However, Mintz is not only an Army veteran, student, and now hero – he is also a father to a young boy with autism, Tyrik, who celebrated his sixth birthday that same day of the shooting. Tyrik has non-verbal autism, which is a form of an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

According to Mintz’s friend, Mike Gwaltney, he “loves his son unconditionally.” As Mintz faced the shooter, he repeated pleaded for his life and some sympathy, crying out “It’s my son’s sixth birthday!” He also often takes his son to Umpqua River or to the beach. Since Mintz likes to keep a schedule for Tyrik, the shooting will undoubtedly affect their lifestyle.[5] We believe that all parents are heroes, but Mintz has grown to become a shining star within the autism community, showing that parents of children with autism will truly do anything to protect others. From pictures posted of Mintz post-surgery, he maintains a smile on his face, and we wish him the best as he works towards recovery.

Chris-Mintz-American-Autism-Association-Father

The following are the list of the lives that were lost that day, our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those who were affected by the horrible tragedy: Lucero Alcaraz (19), Quin Glen Cooper (18), Kim Saltmarsh Dietz (59), Lucas Eibel (18), Jason Johnson (33), Lawrence Levine (67), Sarena Dawn Moore (44), Treven Taylor Anspach (20), and Rebecka Ann Carnes (18).[2]

 

By guest blogger:

Arielle Bello

Community Outreach Intern

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