22-year-old Army automated logistics specialist Glendon Oakley Jr saved the lives of several children during Saturday’s deadly mass shooting in El Paso, Texas.
22-year-old US Army Private First Class Glendon Oakley Jr. saved several children in his heroic call to action during the El Paso Walmart Shooting incident. Oakley Jr., who is an automated logistics specialist assigned to the 504th Composite Supply Company, 142nd Combat Support Sustainment Battalion, 1st Armored Division Sustainment Brigade at Fort Bliss, Texas, had been shopping at a sporting goods store inside the Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso when a young boy burst into the store screaming about an active shooter at the nearby Walmart. "The guy at the register and I sort of looked at each other," Oakley told Task & Purpose in a phone interview on Saturday. "He's a little kid ... are you going to believe him?"
THE #IIICORPS CONNECTION WHO SAVED LIVES— Fort Hood (@forthood) August 4, 2019
"I wish I could have gotten more kids out of there... I just think, what if that was my child? How would I want some other man to react?" - Pfc. Glendon Oakley Jr.https://t.co/lJ06BhIGqK#FortBliss #ElPaso #ReadyToday
"What I did was exactly what I was supposed to do. I understand it was heroic and I'm looked at as a hero for it, but that wasn't the reason for me," U.S. Army soldier Glendon Oakley said Sunday, before breaking down in tears. "I'm just focused on the kids that I could not [save] and the families. It hurts me. I feel like they were a part of me. I don't even know the people that died or the kids that I took with me.".
Oakley said he didn't take the boy's claims seriously at first, but knew it was real when he began to hear gunfire. He said he immediately went into combat mode and began to grab as many children as he could to get them out of harm's way. "I didn't even think. I just grabbed as many kids as I could and ran five stores down to the exit," he said. "We got there and ran into a whole batch of police pointing their guns at us. I wasn't focused on myself, and I wasn't focused on my surroundings ... I was just focused on those kids."
Thank you for putting it in context, and she's absolutely correct, he's lucky he didn't get shot. That would have been a tragic however understandable mistake.— DEEBEE (@DEEBEE20650464) August 4, 2019
Oakley Jr. was truly upset by this shooting incident and claims that his act wasn't a heroic one, but one of service and duty which is his role in life. "I did that because that's what I was trained to do. That is what the military has taught me to do," he told reporters Sunday. "But I really want you guys to focus on the people that are actually grieving through this. Yes, I'm grieving, but I'm not the one that lost a family member. Yes, it feels like I have lost one. But they are the ones that need to be the [focus]." "I'm not describing anything," he said. "I didn't get any sleep last night. I don't want to think about what happened because it was tragic. I'm telling you this was the worst thing I've ever been through in my life. And I don't want to keep having flashbacks of what happened." "I don't want to talk about what went on there because I just want to forget about it all. I just want to focus on the people that lost their loved ones…I'm already suffering from this. I don't want to continue to suffer from it," he added.
This has been one of the more shocking weekends Americans had to endure. Officials have said that at least 20 people have been killed so far, with dozens more injured on Saturday morning's massacre at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. The Walmart at the time was packed with back-to-school shoppers and this event is one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S history. The suspect was identified by authorities as Patrick Crusius, 21, of Allen, Texas. He is being held on a charge of capital murder, court records show.
Just about 15 hours after the El Paso incident, ABC News reported that the Mayor of Dayton, Ohio, Nan Whaley has confirmed that there was another shooting where at least 9 people were reported dead, with 27 others being injured following a gunman wearing body armor and wielding an AK-47-style assault rifle opened fire in the crowded Oregon District of Dayton.
Oakley was born into an army family. His father, Glendon Oakley Sr., served for 31 years before retiring in 2011 at the rank of Sergeant Major; his mother, Wendolyn D. Oakley, retired as a master sergeant in 2001 after two decades; and his older sister, Glenda Oakley, is a retired captain. He recollected the struggles of his past in his interview. "I went to jail a few times, for weed charges, for fighting, just getting caught up in the wrong stuff," he told Task & Purpose. "I've been in pointless shootouts at a young age ... Killeen is a lot of pointless shootouts."However, during the time of this El Paso crisis, as the situation turned ugly, Oakley kept his cool and did the right thing. He acted with composure and sanity and his presence made all the difference for the children he rescued.
"We can confirm he is a Soldier with 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss," says Army Lt. Col. Emmanuel Ortizcruz, a service spokesman, in an email.— Dan Lamothe (@DanLamothe) August 3, 2019