Soldier Awarded Army Commendation Medal for Act of Heroism During El Paso Shooting

A soldier received the Army Commendation Medal this week for his act of heroism during the El Paso, Texas shooting earlier this month.

Pfc. Glendon Oakley, a soldier with the 1st Armored Division Sustainment Brigade, was presented the honor during an awards ceremony at Fort Bliss on Wednesday after he helped to escort children to safety as the deadly El Paso shooting unfolded on August 3.

A gunman, identified as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, opened fire at a Walmart near a Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso earlier this month, killing 22 and injuring dozens more. Hours later, another shooter killed nine in Dayton, Ohio.

Oakley was shopping at Cielo Vista Mall approximately 800 feet away from Walmart when the shooting began, according to the Army Times. First responders on the scene quickly began evacuating citizens from both the Walmart and mall locations as authorities worked to contain the situation.

In his recent appearance on MSNBC, Oakley revealed that was shopping at a Foot Locker in the mall when a child came into the store and alerted shoppers of the active gunman nearby. Oakland, who possessed a weapons permit, immediately pulled out his gun and jumped into action.

"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 explained, adding that he bought panicked children to police officers at the scene.

"You could hear all of the chaos going around, and that's when I did what I was trained to do," Oakley said in another interview. "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," he added. "They were just scared, so I just did what I could do."

El Paso
People attend a candlelight vigil at a makeshift memorial honoring victims of a mass shooting which left at least 22 people dead, on August 7, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. Pfc. Glendon Oakley, an automated logistical supply specialist, received an Army Commendation Medal on Wednesday for his heroism during the El Paso shooting. Mario Tama/Getty

Authorities are investigating a manifesto allegedly written by Crusius that contains anti-immigrant rhetoric and sympathy for the Christchurch gunman, who was involved in deadly shootings at New Zealand mosques earlier this year.

Democrats and Republicans have clashed in recent weeks over whether President Donald Trump's inflammatory racial rhetoric had encouraged the hate and violence in the El Paso shooting.

The president responded to the two shootings by asserting that "hate has no place in our country," before then promising that his administration would "take care of it," without detailing any plans to tackle gun violence.