By Justin Worland
October 18, 2015

When a gunman opened fire at an Oregon community college, most students understandably tried to ran to safety. Chris Mintz, an Army veteran, instead ran across the campus of his college to alert others to the gunman’s threat.

In a Facebook post, the Oregon college student described a chaotic scene as he ran from one room to a another warning his fellow students. Mintz eventually found the gunman in a classroom in an encounter that resulted in Mintz being shot five times. The veteran, who has been hailed as a hero, wrote that he told the gunman that it was his son’s birthday to avoid a fatal shot to the head.

“He pointed the gun right at my face and then he retreated back into the class,” Mintz wrote. “I’m still confused at why he didn’t shoot me again.”

Now, nearly three weeks after the shooting, Mintz is defending himself against critics who question his story. In another post, Mintz wrote that he didn’t ask to be placed at the center of the shooting that killed nine people and injured seven others.

“Just because you don’t believe it’s real doesn’t mean it didn’t happen,” he wrote. “Some of those that passed were my friends I loved them and your disrespect for them sickens me.”

Write to Justin Worland at justin.worland@time.com.

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