The soldier praised as a hero for his actions during the El Paso mass shooting on Aug. 3 was arrested by Texas police officers Thursday after Army officials said he had gone absent without leave, or AWOL.
Pfc. Glendon Oakley, a soldier stationed at Fort Bliss, was picked up by Harker Heights Police Department officers on a warrant issued by the military, police spokesman Lt. Stephen Miller told Army Times.
That area is roughly 600 miles east of Fort Bliss and in the vicinity of Fort Hood. Police officers then brought Oakley to Bell County Jail, Miller said.
A military administrative warrant for being AWOL was issued by Army officials, Fort Bliss spokesman Master Sgt. Vin Stevens said in a statement Friday.
Oakley is still in police custody pending return to Fort Bliss, “where the chain of command is prepared to receive the soldier and address the issue according to applicable laws, regulation, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice,” Stevens’ statement reads.
Citing respect for Oakley’s privacy, no further information is being released at this time, according to the statement. There was no indication that Oakley has an attorney.
“We are genuinely concerned about the well-being of all soldiers in our unit,” said Col. Ronnie D. Anderson Jr., 1st Armored Division Sustainment Brigade commander.
Oakley, a native of Killeen, Texas and an automated logistical specialist, is assigned to 504th Composite Supply Company, 142nd Combat Support Sustainment Battalion, 1st Armored Division Sustainment Brigade.
During the Aug. 3 shooting, Oakley said he was at the Cielo Vista Mall, roughly 800 feet from the Walmart where the attack took place. He told the media that he was shopping at a Foot Locker when a child ran into the store and reported the mass shooting.
That was followed by sounds of gunfire. Oakley, who has a gun permit, drew his weapon and ran out of the store.
“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 told local media after the attack.
Oakley said he took several panicked children at the mall and escorted them to police officers in the area.
He was ultimately awarded an Army Commendation Medal for his actions during the shooting.
In mid-September, El Paso Police Department officials said in a statement carried by local media that they had no independent confirmation of Oakley’s actions after reviewing surveillance footage from the scene of the shooting.
The police statement neither confirmed nor denied Oakley’s version of events.
“All we can say is that there were reports of possible multiple shooters and a possible shooter at the mall," the police statement reads. "That was based on initial erroneous reports amidst the chaos. It was later confirmed that there was only one shooter and there was no one in danger at the mall. We have no independent reports of anyone’s actions at the mall.”
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter who has covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq. Follow on Twitter @Kyle_Rempfer