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Fort Bliss soldier with questioned heroic El Paso shooting story arrested

Handcuffs. (Keith Allison/Flickr)
October 07, 2019

The Fort Bliss soldier with a questioned story of heroics during the Aug. 3 mass shooting was arrested for desertion early Friday morning near Killeen, Texas, by the Harker Heights Police Department.

Private First Class Glendon Oakley, 22, was arrested and taken to the Bell County Jail by Harker Heights police a little after 2 a.m. on Friday. The police were helping Fort Bliss locate Oakley who was absent without permission.

Oakley is still in the Bell County Jail but will return to Fort Bliss where he will be subject to applicable laws, regulation and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, according to a news release from the Fort Bliss 1st Armored Division.

“Out of respect for the soldier’s privacy, no further information will be released at this time,” the news release read. “We are genuinely concerned about the well-being of all soldiers in our unit.”

Oakley became well-known after telling major television networks that he saved children during the day of a mass shooting in El Paso. On Aug. 3, Oakley was interviewed about what he saw and heard while shopping at Cielo Vista Mall, which is near the Walmart where 22 were killed and 25 were injured.

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He said that he rushed to save three children along with others when they heard gunshots near the stores.

“What I did was what I was supposed to do, and I understand it was heroic and I’m looked at as a hero for it, but that wasn’t the reason for me …” Oakley Jr. told reporters on Aug. 4 as he broke into tears. “I’m just focused on the kids that I could not get and the families that were lost.”

He was recognized by U.S. President Donald Trump during a visit to El Paso on Aug. 7. He has been awarded the Army Commendation Medal.

“What a job he did,” Trump said of Oakley. “There are lot of heroes. A lot of people who did just incredible work.”

The story has come into question because police only identified one shooter who solely attacked the Walmart and not the Cielo Vista Mall. El Paso police say there are no independent confirmations that prove or disprove Oakley’s account.

On Friday, he was found by Harker Heights police in his vehicle, which is five miles away from Killeen, where he was born.

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© 2019 the El Paso Times