Army Pfc. Glendon Oakley Jr. is being heralded a hero after he sprung into action saving children who were in the area of the mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.
The 22-year-old is an automated logistics specialist in the 504th Composite Supply Company, 142nd Combat Support Sustainment Battalion, 1st Armored Division Sustainment Brigade at Fort Bliss, Texas. He was at the Cielo Vista Mall shopping at a sporting goods store and alerted by a child as he was checking out.
“The guy at the register and I sort of looked at each other,” Oakley said to Task & Purpose.
The shooting ultimately killed over 20 people and injured more in Walmart. The sound of bullets from inside the retail store was heard by Oakley as he was heading to a Foot Locker, which prompted him to pull up his concealed carry Glock 9mm.
“You pull your gun, you find cover, and you figure out what to do next,” Oakley said.
At the Foot Locker, Oakley ran into employees who changed their mind from remaining stationary behind a security gate and making an attempt for a mall exit. Oakley served as an escort for the employees but also encountered a dozen children in the fear and screaming for their parents.
“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.”
Oakley was described as shaken following the incident, however, he wouldn’t let that hinder him as he was “scared for my life.”
Oakley is from an army family, his father served 31 years before retiring as a sergeant major in 2011. His mother is also an Army retiree in 2001 as a master sergeant. His sister, Glenda Oakley is a retired captain.