Glen Oakley was shopping at the Foot Locker in Cielo Visa Mall in El Paso, Texas, when suddenly, a young kid ran into the store and said there was “an active shooter in Walmart.” While at first no one believed the child, people in the store suddenly the heard sounds of the shooting. Oakley heard “pop-pop,” grabbed his gun and ran toward the Walmart.
As a military man, Oakley said that when he hears gunshots, his first thought is “boom boom, take cover, save whoever I can.” He is trained to respond to threats, so he jumped into action. Live from the scene, he told his story of the tragic event in which 21-year-old suspected shooter, Patrick Crusius, walked into Walmart with a gun and killed a reported 20 people, and left 40 injured, numbers which could rise as this report continues to be a developing story.
Washington Post reporter Dan Lemothe confirmed Oakley’s military. He tweeted, “The Army confirms that Glen Oakley is indeed a soldier and member of the 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss,” information he received from Army Lieutenant Colonel Emmanuel Ortizcruz, a service spokesman, in an email.
Oakley, who credited his military training for knowing how to react in such an intense emergency situation said, “I see a whole bunch of kids running around without their parents, I got my bag in my hand I’m trying to pick up as many as I can and run out. They’re so anxious, they’re dropping out of my hand.”
Oakley continued, “The closed the Foot Locker, some people were in there and they were so scared they just lifted the cage and just hid, so I ran with them.”
“I made my way out and when I got out, I guess one of the cops thought I was the shooter so I had to show them I have a license to carry.” Oakley tweeted about this moment, while stuck inside the Foot Locker. He wrote, “Cops took my gun, 9mm silver and black glock. When I heard gunshots I quickly pulled my shit out and started running. Showed them my license to carry and showed them my clip was still full. I’m fine but I’m stuck and can’t go anywhere.”
Afterward Oakley said, “I called a friend, and I’m here now, but it was just a whole bunch of kids. I’m shaking. A whole bunch of kids. They were without their parents and stuff. I hop nothing happened to the kids. I tried to pick up as many as I could and bring them out with me.”
Focusing on the Hero, Not the Shooter
Because it seems like news of a mass shooting is happening nearly every week in America, users on Twitter wanted to focus their attention on Oakley, a good guy with a gun in El, Paso, Texas, and not the alleged shooter, Patrick Crusius.
Praising the brave efforts of Oakley, Derek Hookstead tweeted, “This man is an American hero. During the mass shooting in El Paso, he acted to save as many children as possible and used his legally owned weapon to help.”
News correspondent Muhammad Lila retweeted the video clip which quickly went viral with the message, “He was in the @FootLocker when the El Paso shooting happened. When he ran to leave, he saw kids in the mall without their parents, scared and alone. So he picked up as many as he could and carried them to safety. Focus on the heroes.”
As for Oakley himself, he only wish could’ve done more. “4 kids confirmed dead,” he tweeted. “I could’ve did more than I did….”