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Fort Bliss soldier praised as hero after Aug. 3 mass shooting arrested for military desertion

Glendon Oakley Jr., who was credited with helping save children during El Paso’s Aug. 3 mass shooting, has been arrested on a military desertion warrant out of Fort Hood.

The 22-year-old Fort Bliss soldier was arrested late Wednesday night by the Harker Heights police department out of Bell County. Police said he was being held in the Bell County Jail on a third-degree felony charge.

“Pfc. Oakley was absent without leave and was apprehended pursuant to a military administrative warrant. Pfc. Oakley is in police custody pending return to Fort Bliss,” said Master Sgt. Vin Stevens, a Fort Bliss spokesman.

ABC-7 interviewed Oakley in the aftermath of the Aug. 3 attack.

“What I did was exactly what I was supposed to do. I understand it was heroic and I’m looked at as a hero for it, but that wasn’t the reason for me,” Oakley said at the time, before breaking down in tears. “I’m just focused on the kids that I could not [save] and the families. It hurts me. I feel like they were a part of me. I don’t even know the people that died or the kids that I took with me.”

Oakley, an automated logistical specialist stationed at Fort Bliss, was shopping at the Cielo Vista Mall when a young child ran up to him, saying there was a shooter at the nearby Walmart. Oakley said he didn’t take the boy’s claims seriously at first, but knew it was real when he began to hear gunfire. He said he immediately went into combat mode and began to grab as many children as he could to get them out of harm’s way.

“I did that because that’s what I was trained to do. That is what the military has taught me to do,” he told reporters at the time. “But I really want you guys to focus on the people that are actually grieving through this. Yes, I’m grieving, but I’m not the one that lost a family member. Yes, it feels like I have lost one. But they are the ones that need to be the [focus].”

Oakley refused to offer details about the “tragic” scene he witnessed, but he called it “the worst thing” he’s ever seen.

“I’m not describing anything,” he said at the time. “I didn’t get any sleep last night. I don’t want to think about what happened because it was tragic. I’m telling you this was the worst thing I’ve ever been through in my life. And I don’t want to keep having flashbacks of what happened.”

“I don’t I don’t want to talk about what went on there because I just want to forget about it all. I just want to focus on the people that lost their loved ones…I’m already suffering from this. I don’t want to continue to suffer from it,” he had added.

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KVIA 2019

KVIA ABC-7

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