Many news outlets will report the name of the racist terrorist who took the lives of 20 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas on Saturday.
But we should instead honor a different name: Glendon Oakley, Jr.
22-year-old Oakley is an Army automated logistics specialist who was shopping inside the Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso when all of a sudden a young child ran into the store saying there was an active shooter at the Walmart nearby.
“The guy at the register and I sort of looked at each other,” Oakley told Task & Purpose. “He’s a little kid … are you going to believe him?”
Obviously the child was telling the truth. At least 20 people were killed and others were wounded when a man began shooting at the Walmart.
‘That’s What You Do. You Pull Your Gun…’
Oakley left the sporting good store he was in and went to a nearby Footlocker. There, he finally heard the gunfire and pulled out his the Glock 9mm he carried thanks to Texas’s concealed carry laws.
Oakley, who just returned from a deployment to Kuwait, explained to Task & Purpose, “That’s what you do. You pull your gun, you find cover, and you figure out what to do next.”
He grew up in a military family and after having a rough time at a young age, Oakley decided to enlist in the Army.
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NEW: Meet Army Pfc. Glendon Oakley Jr, the soldier who saved lives during today's mass shooting in El Paso
I wasn't focused on myself, and I wasn't focused on my surroundings … I was just focused on those kids" https://t.co/Fp9MUbDuYM
— Jared Keller (@jaredbkeller) August 4, 2019
“Even though my parents were in the Army, nobody would give me the time of day,” he said. “There was one recruiter who didn’t give up on me. For two years, he didn’t give up.”
‘I Didn’t Even Think’
Before finding himself in the middle of Saturday’s tragic shooting, Oakley had been home from Kuwait for about four months. When some mall employees brought down the store’s metal security gate, they ran for the exits and Oakley followed, protecting them.
That’s when his group found a group of children in the mall’s play area, crying for their parents. Oakley said he tried to get bystanders to help, but they all ran away.
“I didn’t even think. I just grabbed as many kids as I could and ran five stores down to the exit,” Oakley 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 admitted that despite his training, he was “scared for my life.”
‘What if That Was My Child?’
“I heard four kids died,” he said. “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?”
Thank you, Glendon Oakley, Jr. You are a true hero and this country could use more like you, especially in such dark and tragic times.
— Charles V Payne (@cvpayne) August 4, 2019