They listened while their classmates screamed. Then they heard the gunfire.
Mr. Mintz, an Army veteran who practices mixed martial arts, is considered a hero for his actions that day, when he tried to block the gunman, Christopher Harper-Mercer. Mr. Harper-Mercer killed nine people and wounded seven others before he took his own life. While trying to lead fellow students to safety, Mr. Mintz was wounded during the rampage after confronting Mr. Harper-Mercer, 26, a student at the school. The killer’s motives still are not fully known, but law enforcement officers described him as an angry, isolated man whose rage was fueled by an animus toward religion. He resented the way his life was unfolding. In a note left at the scene, Mr. Harper-Mercer described his life as a fragile mirror, easily shattered.
His account of the shooting chronicles in detail the events that unfolded between the first shot fired by the gunman and the arrival of police officers to assist in evacuating students. After a short exchange of gunfire with law enforcement officers, the gunman died from a self-inflicted wound. Mr. Mintz was in a writing class on the campus at about 10:30 a.m. when he heard yelling from the classroom next door.