This Off-Duty Soldier Sprung into Action to Save Children During El Paso Shooting
Several children escaped the Walmart shooting in El Paso, Texas, with their lives thanks to heroic efforts of an off-duty Army serviceman.
Glendon Oakley, a 22-year-old automated logistical specialist stationed at Fort Bliss, was shopping at the Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso on Saturday morning when a little boy told him that there was a shooter at the nearby Walmart. Oakley admitted to reporters on Sunday that he didn't believe him at first—but then he heard gunfire. He immediately sprung into action and began to grab as many children as he could.
He said he picked up three kids and ran as fast as he could past five stores to the mall exit.
"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," a tearful Oakley told ABC News. "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."
Four months after returning from a deployment in Kuwait, Oakley described the shooting as "the worst thing" he's ever seen.
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Though he is being called a hero, Oakley insists that the focus should not be on him.
"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. "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]."