KUWAIT CITY, Aug 4, (Agencies): United States Army Private First Class Glendon Oakley saved a number of children during the El Paso Walmart shooting Saturday.
A report published Sunday on www. taskandpurpose.com revealed that Oakley is a 22-year-old Army automated logistics specialist assigned to the 504th Composite Supply Company, 142nd Combat Support Sustainment Battalion, 1st Armored Division Sustainment Brigade at Fort Bliss, Texas. Oakley was deployed to Kuwait with the 504th some months after his graduation in March 2018.
He had been home from Kuwait for just about four months when the shooting happened. He had been shopping at a sporting goods store inside the Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso when a young child burst into the store shouting 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?” When Oakley exited the store minutes later and headed to the neighboring Footlocker, he finally heard the sound of gunfire echoing across the mall.
He immediately pulled the Glock 9mm he occasionally carries under Texas’ concealed carry laws. While he had just returned from an incident-free deployment to Kuwait, this was not his first firefight. “That’s what you do,” he told Task & Purpose. “You pull your gun, you find cover, and you figure out what to do next.”
A handful of employees had initially brought down the store’s metal security gate, but they had decided to make a run for the mall exits. Oakley followed, an impromptu rear guard for the group. The group quickly stumbled upon a group of a dozen children clustered in one of the mall’s open play areas, screaming for their parents. Oakley says he tried to get fleeing bystanders to help, but none would stop. “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.”
In an interview with local television station KTSM outside the Cielo Vista Mall, Oakley was clearly shaken, the adrenaline pumping through his system. And when reached by Task & Purpose on Saturday, he said that despite his training, he was “scared for my life.