U.S. Army Spc. Glendon Oakley told reporters he picked up as many small kids as he could and hauled them out of the store during Saturday’s shooting
An Army veteran who reportedly rescued several children from the El Paso, Texas mass shooting on Saturday is being hailed as a hero on social media.
U.S. Army specialist Glendon Oakley told reporters he was shopping at a sporting goods store inside the Cielo Vista Mall in West El Paso when the gunman opened fire inside a nearby Walmart.
Oakley’s social media pages indicate he is a retired U.S. Army veteran from Killeen, Texas, a city located in the center of the state about 582 miles east of El Paso.
Oakley told an MSNBC reporter that a child came into the sporting goods store where he and others were shopping and said there was an active shooter.
‘Me and the guy that works there were like “He’s a kid” so we didn’t believe him,’ Oakley said. ‘I walked out the mall to go to Footlocker. I hear “Bop! Bop!”‘
Oakley told reporters he picked up as many small kids as he could and hauled them out of the store Saturday
After hearing the gunshots, Oakley said he drew the handgun he was licensed to carry before looking for a place to hide. Then he noticed a bunch of people fleeing from a nearby Footlocker store.
‘They just dipped. So I ran with them. I just tried to make my way to the parking lot,’ Oakley said.
On his way out, however, the military veteran saw a group of panicking children who were running around inside the shopping plaza unsure of what to do. Their parents were nowhere in sight, he said.
‘I got my bag in my hand. I’m trying to pick them up, as many as I can, just run out,’ Oakley said. ‘But they’re so anxious, they’re, like, jumping out of my hands.’
Oakley said he managed to shuffle at least a few of the children out of the shopping center.
Many social media users are describing Oakley as a ‘hero’ for his bravery in the line of fire
Oakley’s social media accounts indicate he’s a retired Army veteran originally from Killeen, Texas
One suspect in Saturday’s mass shooting in El Paso is in custody. He has been identified in press reports as Patrick Crusius, a 21-year-old man from Dallas. Crusius is allegedly the man seen in surveillance footage walking in through the front entrance of the Walmart with an AK-47 assault rifle
The gunman is seen wearing what appears to be either headphones or ear defenders during the shooting on Saturday
When he emerged in the parking lot, Oakley said he was confronted by an on-scene officer who wasn’t sure if Oakley, who was armed, was a potential victim or if he was the shooter, who hadn’t yet been identified.
‘When I got out, I guess one of the cops thought I was the shooter or something,’ Oakley said. ‘So I had to show ’em my clip and stuff, show ’em I had my license to carry. He said I was fine.’
Oakley, who was visibly shaken while being interviewed in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, said his own life wasn’t his main concern when gunshots rang out.
‘I was just so worried about those kids man. I’m just worried about those kids. I wasn’t really worried about myself. I just hope those kids are alright.’
Many on social media commended Oakley for his apparent bravery during the deadly rampage.
Local reports indicate that at least 22 people were killed in the shooting in El Paso on Saturday
‘HERO!’ said Twitter user JamieR Army Girl. ‘Active Duty member Glen Oakley, who was near the El Paso Walmart rushed to protect children during the shooting! Thank you and God Bless you!’
‘What a honorable man’ tweeted Judy M. Poston
‘A real life superhero,’ added Twitter user Jhobbs.
At least 20 people were killed and at least 40 others, including a four-month-old baby, were wounded after the gunman opened fire inside the El Paso Walmart.
One shooting suspect, identified in press reports as 21- year-old Patrick Crusius, is in police custody.