RANDLEMAN, N.C. -- A man originally from Randleman was shot and injured in the Oregon community college shooting Thursday that resulted in 10 fatalities.
Seven other people were injured when a gunman -- identified as Chris Harper Mercer-- opened fire at Oregon's Umpqua Community College in Roseburg.
Chris Mintz graduated from Randleman High School in 2003 and had been in Oregon for at least 10 years, according to family members.
Mintz spent most of Thursday in surgery after receiving seven gunshots during the attack. Family members said Mintz was able to talk to loved ones before going into surgery. He told them that he heard gunshots in another classroom and tried to keep the gunman from entering his classroom.
“He could have very easily died,” said Wanda Mintz, the victim’s aunt. “I really think that if he wasn't such a strong, young guy, he may have died.”
Family members said both of Mintz’s legs are broken and he will have to relearn to walk, but he is now recovering and expected to survive. No vital organs were hit.
Mintz has been in the military for at least 10 years and was in Oregon, primarily, to raise his son, according to his family.
Even though there’s a nearly-3,000-mile separation, family members in the Piedmont remain close.
“My brother talked to Chris on the phone while Chris was walking into school to tell him to remind his grandson that grandpa said, ‘Happy Birthday,’” said Wanda Mintz.
Grandfather, father and son spent a week together before Chris began his second year of classes at Umpqua Community College. Thursday was his fourth day back.
The Mintz family in the Piedmont spent Thursday praying for Chris and consoling each other. They remain upbeat about his chances at a full recovery.
“His vital signs are OK 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,” said Ariana Earnhardt, Chris’ cousin.