ROSEBURG, Ore. (Reuters) - An online campaign to pay for the treatment and recovery of an Iraq war veteran hailed as a hero during the Oregon college massacre raised almost $700,000 in just one day, the website showed on Saturday.
Chris Mintz, 30, is credited with likely saving the lives of fellow students when he prevented the 26-year-old gunman from entering a classroom at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg before police arrived.
The shooter later committed suicide.
Mintz, a mixed martial artist and bodybuilder who was studying fitness technology in the hope of becoming a personal trainer, drew fire that left him with seven bullet wounds and two broken legs, his former girlfriend said in an interview.
More than $680,000 was raised from just over 20,000 donors in one day, according to the GoFundMe site set up by Mintz's cousin, Derek Bourgeois. (bit.ly/1L1bXJN)
“He is a father, a veteran, a student, and now he’s a hero,” Bourgeois wrote on the site about Mintz, whom he grew up with in Randleman, North Carolina.
“During the shooting both of his legs were broken and he is going to have to go through a ton of physical therapy. While Chris is not the type of person to ask for it, he is going to need all of the help he can get while he recovers!”
The funds will be sent directly to Mintz to assist with his recovery by paying medical and other bills incurred while he is out of work, and for childcare for his son, who turned six on the day of the shooting, Bourgeois wrote.
Mintz’s former girlfriend, Jamie Skinner, said they were a couple for 10 years and remain close as they raise their son together.
Mintz also suffered significant blood loss, she said, and still has shrapnel in his body. He has undergone hours of surgery, and will be in a wheelchair for some time.
Skinner said that after the gunman shot Mintz, “when Chris hit the ground, he told him it was our son’s birthday.”
The gunman, who was named by authorities on Friday as Chris Harper-Mercer, shot Mintz several more times.
Reporting by Courtney Sherwood; Writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Richard Chang