Army Soldier Commended For Quick Actions During El Paso Walmart Shooting Found Dead This Week

Glendon Oakley was shopping inside a Foot Locker at the Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso, Texas last August when a child ran into the store and warned everybody of a mass shooting at the Walmart across the large parking lot.

Pfc. Oakley, who was stationed at nearby Fort Bliss, and had a gun permit, acted quickly. He drew his weapon and ran outside of the store to both confront any trouble and protect those in its way. At that point, he saw children running around and screaming.

Oakley escorted as many children as he could to the safety of police. About three weeks later, the United States Army awarded Pfc. Oakley the Army Commendation Medal for his heroic actions.

Two days ago on April 8, 2020—just more than eight months since his unselfish actions—Oakley was found dead inside his quarters at Fort Bliss, according to a report from the Army Times.

Pfc. Glendon Oakley
Pfc. Glendon Oakley, who was commended for his quick actions to bring children to safety during the El Paso mass shooting on Aug. 3, 2019, was found dead in his quarters at Fort Bliss on April 8, 2020. The cause of his death is pending investigation. Photo from United States Army

Special agents from the Army's Criminal Investigation Command are investigating his death.

"At this point in the investigation, foul play is not suspected," Army officials said. "No further information will be released at this time to protect the integrity of the investigative process."

Oakley was from Killeen, which is centrally-located in Texas, and he was serving as an automated supply logistical specialist with the 1st Armored Division Sustainment Brigade.

The Walmart shooting in El Paso left 22 dead and 26 others injured by a shooter, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, who was arrested and later confessed that he drove from North Texas to El Paso with intentions of shooting "Mexicans."

Oakley's actions during the mass shooting in El Paso on August 3, 2019, brought him national attention, even a meeting with President Donald Trump.

Pfc. Oakley was interviewed after the mass shooting, and he said his instincts prompted his quick thinking and actions.

"I saw a whole bunch of kids running around without their parents ... I tried to pick up as many as I could and bring them with me," he said.

"You could hear all of the chaos going around, and that's when I did what I was trained to do," Oakley added in an Army news story. "I quickly reacted and I thought to myself if my child were there how I would want someone else to react. I just took action and tried to get as many kids as possible.

"I just thought about keeping them as close as I could, a couple of them were jumping out of my hands, but the ones I could keep with me, I made sure that they made it to where they needed to be. They were just scared, so I just did what I could do."

Aside from the Army Commendation Medal, Oakley was also awarded the Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon and the Rifle Marksmanship Badge.

The El Paso shooting was followed 13 hours later by a shooting in downtown Dayton, Ohio, where nine people were killed and dozens more injured. The two shootings, with a combined death toll of 31, sparked a national debate over gun control, white supremacy, a culture of gun violence and safety measures for areas with large crowds.