Two Army recruiters received Soldier’s Medals on Friday for their quick response and life-saving aid rendered to two teenagers during a shooting at a California mall on July 2, according to Army Recruiting Command.
Staff Sgt. Isaiah Locklear and Staff Sgt. Michael Marl, both assigned to the Central California Recruiting Battalion, told Army Times in an interview describing the event that they began hearing gunfire while talking with a recruit in their offices at Tanforan Mall in San Bruno, California, at about 4 p.m.
“That’s when we heard two or three shots,” Marl said in July. “We kind of looked at each other and were like ‘is this gunfire?’ ”
After a few more gunshots were heard, the two soldiers instructed their recruit to take shelter in their back office. Then both men ran out to assist two victims who they found bleeding from gunshot wounds to the abdomen and thigh.
Locklear and Marl received Soldier’s Medals, the Army’s highest non-combat heroism award, for their actions, as first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Locklear began providing aid to the first victim they found.
“The victim was on the floor, waving his hands, saying that he’s been shot,” Locklear said, adding that a gunshot wound to the stomach was visible. “I took my shirt off and I started applying pressure and checked him to make sure he didn’t have any other wounds.”
A second victim was identified by Marl, who began tending to the boy’s gunshot wound on the thigh.
“I just applied pressure, kept the kid calm and made sure the friend he had there with him didn’t go running around until the cops showed up,” said Marl, who has been in the Army for more than 12 years. “Thankfully, one of the first cops that came up actually had a tourniquet."
“So we applied the tourniquet and just made sure it was tight and stayed with the kid until the actual paramedics showed up,” Marl added.
In total, four people were injured in the shooting, according to local media. The victims were ultimately transported to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.
The shooting appeared to be targeted and not random, local law enforcement said in the wake of the incident.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported on Friday that a dispute between two groups of youths sparked the shooting. All four of the wounded ultimately recovered and three teenagers, as well as an 18-year-old, were arrested, according to the Chronicle.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter whose investigations have 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 in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.