Glendon Oakley, a member of the U.S. Army, is being hailed as a hero in the El Paso, Texas shooting for his actions to help save a number of children as the gunman fired away at a Walmart.
The off-duty soldier said he has a license to carry a firearm, telling KTSM 9 News he was shopping for a sports jersey at Cielo Vista Mall when a kid ran into the store and said there was an active shooter nearby.
At first, Oakley didn’t believe the kid, but as he made his way to a Footlocker, he then heard gunshots.
“I walked out and I go to Foot Locker and all I hear is ‘bang’, ‘bang,’” he told the local NBC affiliate.
His training took over and Oakley pulled out his weapon, but as he was heading to the parking lot, the soldier said he saw a bunch of kids running alone.
“I saw a whole bunch of kids just running around without their parents,” Oakley said. “I got my bag in my hand, so I was just trying to pick them up one by one, as many as I can and just run out.”
He said the kids were anxious and jumped out of his arms, but he did what he could.
“When I got out I guess one of the cops thought I was the shooter or something, so I had to show him my clip to show it was still full,” Oakley explained.
“It was just a whole bunch of kids in there,” he said, as he struggled to recall the scene inside the mall.
“I’m sorry, I’m shaken,” he told the KTSM reporter.
“I just hope nothing happened to the kids,” he added. “I tried to pick up as many as I could and bring them out with me.”
“I’m in the military, so when I hear gunshots I just think, pull my weapon, take cover, save whoever you can,” Oakley said, when asked what he was thinking at the time.
He continued, “I’m just worried about those kids, I wasn’t really worried about myself. It just brings back flashbacks of, ya know … I just hope those kids are alright, that’s all I’m thinking about right now is those kids. I’m not even worried about myself right now.”
In a separate interview, Oakley spoke more about his training.
“We’re trained, when you hear gunshots, to pull out your weapon and think fast,” he said. “It’s a feeling that you can’t explain.”
At least 20 people were killed and 26 others were wounded during the shooting before police took the gunman into custody.
Social media users have praised Oakley as a hero over his concern for the children, with some responding to say instead of remembering the names of the cowards who open fire on unarmed victims, we should remember men like Oakley who take action in the face of such horror.
“HERO! Active Duty member Glen Oakley, who was near the El Paso Walmart rushed to protect children during the shooting! Thank you and God Bless you!” one Twitter user wrote about Oakley.
Check out more responses to Oakley’s actions below:
— B (@HateMeNow502) August 4, 2019
This man on @cnn who scooped up children to get them out is US Army Specialist Glendon Oakley. I hope I spelled it right. Another man also helped him get children to safety. Heroes. They are heroes. #elpasoshooting #EnoughIsEnough #ENOUGH pic.twitter.com/fRQt50uINR
— Randy (@RandyRNB) August 3, 2019
I do not give a fuck about the shooters names.
This is Glendon Oakley, a national HERO. Today in the midst of gunfire Glendon risked his own life in order to save children.
Remember that name. pic.twitter.com/JvIpHMQpwE
— Brown Shuga (@brownnshugaaa) August 3, 2019
Not all heroes wear capes, 🙏🏾🙏🏾
Know his name!
— Oskaer (@Osman__13) August 4, 2019
God bless former U.S. Army Spc. Glendon Oakley who is from Killeen, Texas, a small town outside of Fort Hood. He is a Great American and a hero! So sad to see the news today out of El Paso, may we all stay ever vigilant and hold our loved ones close.https://t.co/qe4qcCqp7m
— Wendy Rogers (@WendyRogersAZ) August 4, 2019
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