"I didn't even think. I just grabbed as many kids as I could and ran five stores down to the exit," Army Pfc. Glendon Oakley said after the tragic incident took place.
It was indeed a grim day in the history of our country. What should have been a regular day at Walmart in El Paso turned out to be one of the worst days for Americans who are still reeling in grief over the mass shooting that left 22 people dead and over 26 injured. It all happened when a 21-year-old man opened fire at the supermarket, believed to be both capital murder and a hate crime, according to a CNN report.
“I wasn’t focused on myself, and I wasn’t focused on my surroundings … I was just focused on those kids,” Pfc. Glendon Oakley.— U.S. Army (@USArmy) August 5, 2019
Pfc. Oakley we salute you. #ArmyValues
Story by @CNN
Among the victims, six of them were said to be Mexican nationals and the police have also found out that the suspect identified as Patrick Crusius had posted a four-page document on the internet spreading his racist agenda.
But when Army Pfc. Glendon Oakley was shopping at a nearby store looking for a jersey, he noticed a child running toward him mentioning that there was a shooter on the run at Walmart in El Paso, Texas. Although not many noticed the fear in the child's voice, Oakley went with the kid and walked inside Walmart only to realize a gunman was shooting at people mercilessly.
This man is a hero.— Elon Mathias (@martoh_lsq) August 4, 2019
Meet Army Specialist Glendon Oakley who saved many at the El Paso #massshooting. Thank you for being a brave savior. 🙏🙏💔💔💔#ElPaso #ElPasoStrong #PrayForElPaso #walmartshooting pic.twitter.com/rbZTlbDoGg pic.twitter.com/xXCKaXi4Eh
"I just heard two gunshots and a whole bunch of people started running around and screaming," Oakley was quoted as saying by CNN. Oakley had just returned from Kuwait four months ago. He and a group of other people noticed many children were panicking and crying waiting for their parents in the mall’s play areas. As reported by Task and Purpose.
"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."
This is Glen Oakley.— Muhammad Lila (@MuhammadLila) August 3, 2019
He was in the @FootLocker when the El Paso shooting happened. When he ran to leave, he saw kids in the mall without their parents, scared and alone.
So he picked up as many as he could and carried them to safety.
Focus on the heroes.#ElPasoShooting pic.twitter.com/1NofPvegjL
Although Oakley was an Army automated logistics specialist, a mass shooting right in front of your eyes is still a terrifying sight for any individual. The young man had admitted being scared for his life when the incident took place.
While speaking to a local television station KTSM, Oakley said, "I heard four kids died. I wish I could have gotten more kids out of there. I wish those guys who ran would have stayed ... I just think, what if that was my child? How would I want some other man to react?" He continued, "I wish they had some sense of service."
On Sunday, he broke down saying, “I understand it was heroic, and I'm looked at as a hero for it, but that wasn't the reason for me ...," I'm just focused on the kids I could not get and the families that were lost. It hurts me, like, they were part of me. I don't even know the people that died or the kids that I took with me ... I want to reach out to the families that were lost and the families that lost their children because the focus should not be on me."
When the gunman opened fire inside the El Paso Walmart, instead of running away, Army Specialist Glendon Oakley ran toward the sound of the gunfire. He helped children escape, carrying them to safety. His courageous actions exemplify service above self. https://t.co/3eBH20nItD— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) August 5, 2019
"The spotlight should not be on me right now," he added. "I need the media to go out to the families and make sure they're OK ... I understand what I did was heroic, but I did that because that's what I was trained to do and that's what the military has taught me to do."