Our men and women in uniform take oaths of different forms but they all come down to the same premise… to stand for the lives and interests of innocent Americans.
The stories how these oaths were upheld in two incidents, only a few hundred miles apart, could not have ended more differently.
As shoppers were kicking off the holiday week at Tanforan Mall, Staff Sergeants Isaih Locklear and Michael Marl were in discussions with a young enlisted soldier, according to Army Times’ Kyle Rempfer. When they heard commotion, their training kicked in.
“That’s when we heard two or three shots,” Marl told Army Times. “We kind of looked at each other and were like ‘is this gunfire?’ ”
Their first action was to bring the new soldier, Mariel Young, to a safe place in their back offices to take shelter. From there, the men ran towards the gunfire. On the second floor of the California mall, they encountered a young teenage male laying on the ground suffering from a gunshot wound, Rempfer reports.
“The victim was on the floor, waving his hands, saying that he’s been shot,” Locklear said, recalling a shot to the torso was obvious. “I took my shirt off and I started applying pressure and checked him to make sure he didn’t have any other wounds.”
KGO-TV interviewed Locklear:
“I rolled him over and noticed that there was a gunshot, the gunshot wound went through the stomach and came out the back,” he said.
Locklear immediately began administering aid as Staff Sergeant Marl continued on to look for any other victims. It didn’t take long for him to find another teen who had taken a shot to the thigh.
Marl began working on the second young man. When Young saw police response, she left her location in the recruiting office and provided assistance, Melendez reports.
“I was pretty much just trying to stop the bleeding and talk him through it,” Locklear recalled, “He was pleading with me that he didn’t want to die and I told him that he would be all right.”
The first aid training the recruiters had received in the Army provided to be invaluable. They identified any wounds, packing and pressurizing with what they had on hand. The pair had a combined Army service of more than 19 years.
“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, “Thankfully, one of the first cops that came up actually had a tourniquet.”
The heroics of the Army recruiters did not end on the second floor of the mall.
“The patient I was dealing with, I actually went with him to the hospital,” Locklear said.
He remained with the scared young man until doctors had an opportunity to report back to Locklear that he was expected to be alright.
The shooters remain at large and it is believed the victims were specifically targeted, Rempfer reports.
The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors presented Locklear, Marl and Young all with challenge coins at a ceremony in a Daly City park on Wednesday, San Francisco Chronicles’ Gwendolyn Wu and Steve Rubenstein report.
Meanwhile, in the neighboring state of Nevada, the news that 12-year veteran police officer Cordell Hendrex was terminated from Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in March begins to make waves. Officer Hendrix was terminated for his inactions during the October 2017 Las Vegas massacre.
Hendrex was on duty at the Mandalay Bay at the time of the shooting. He was training another officer on a call of a trespasser at the now infamous hotel.
A call came across their radio of the active shooter in the area. Hendrex gave instructions for himself, the trainee as well as three security managers from the hotel to hide in an alcove, CNN reports.
The team of security and police remained hidden for nearly five minutes. According to an investigative report, Hendrex explained that he had them remain there so that the gunman could not escape that way.
The investigative reports also shows:
“After leaving the alcove, they moved to the stairwell at the end of the hall. As they got closer to the stairwell, the gunfire continued, and they smelled gunpowder. They entered the 100 Wing stairwell and posted in that location.”
Hendrex and his group of another officer and the security managers remained in that hallway location on the 32ndfloor for 15 deadly minutes, ABC News’ Michelle Price and Michael Balsamo report. The duration of the entire Las Vegas shooting was up to 11 minutes after the initial 911 call came in.
Body cam of first 2 officers inside Mandalay Bay during Las Vegas mass shooting, and the moment they realize they’re dealing with rapid fire firearms
“Holy shit, that’s rapid fire." pic.twitter.com/GGx5H3Vn6G
— Salvador Hernandez (@SalHernandez) June 28, 2018
CBS News quotes Hendrex in a 2018 article:
“I remember thinking that I had myself, my day 2 trainee and three security managers,” Hendrex wrote. “Between the 5 of us only I and Officer Varsin were wearing body armor and all of us were armed with a handgun each.”
During the nearly 20 minutes that Officer Hendrex took no action, the deadliest mass shooting in American history took place from only one story above him. Fifty-eight people died and more than four hundred were injured.
ABC New reports that Hendrex acknowledged being “terrified with fear.” In a police report, he further wrote:
“I froze right there in the middle of the hall for how long I can’t say.”
While officers are not expected to take unreasonable action, a team of two police officers and three security guards, all armed and already at the scene, could have changed the course of history.