Oakley ran to the parking lot and saw "a whole bunch of kids just running around, you know, without their parents and stuff," he said, according to NBCnews.com. "So I get my bag in my hand I try to pick up as many as I can."
“I’m in the military, so when I hear gunshots, I just think ‘take cover.’ But I was so worried about those kids,”’ he told MSNBC.
Personnel from Fort Bliss confirmed Oakley's Army status to ConnectingVets.com and provided that he has received the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.
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Oakley told Task & Purpose he grew up in Killeen, Texas, in an Army family, but it wasn’t until he moved to Macon that he decided to follow their path.
According to Task & Purpose, Oakley met an Army recruiter who helped him put together the appropriate waivers to allow him to actually enlist.
"I had to get an ASVAB waiver, I had to get a tattoo waiver, everything ... even though my parents were in the Army, nobody would give me the time of day," Oakley said. "There was one recruiter who didn't give up on me. For two years, he didn't give up."
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Authorities said Patrick Crusius, 21, started shooting shortly after noon near the Cielo Vista Mall. The shooting started in a Walmart and continued toward the mall, which is nearby.