A Walmart employee led nearly 100 people to safety during the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday morning.
Gilbert Serna, 36, told reporters he was standing at the back of the store when a “code brown,” which means an active shooter, was announced over his two-way radio. Moments later, Serna heard gunshots.
Reports said he motioned for customers and several employees to follow him to the rear of the store where he led the group to the fire exit and out the back to safety.
“We were out in the open. I opened the shipping containers and told everyone to get in,” Serna told reporters.
Serna, who has worked for Walmart for 19 years, did not stay inside the containers with the others but walked around the outside of the building. There he found a group of people standing in the parking lot and also led them to safety at the back of the building.
“I was scared, I’m not going to lie, but I wasn’t thinking about my own safety,” he recalled. “I was thinking about everybody else’s safety.”
Walmart employees are required to complete an active shooter training program during their orientation, and four times a year on computers following their hiring date, Reuters reported.
Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove said the company’s particular level of training is unique. However, Hargrove said it is impossible to tell when a serious event might occur.
“You can never predict violence, which is why we focus on training and preparation so seriously,” Hargrove said. “No business or retailer is immune.”
In a similar instance on Saturday, Army Pfc. Glendon Oakley Jr., 22, was inside a sporting goods store at the Cielo Vista Mall when he heard gunshots outside the doors.
Breitbart News reported that Oakley drew his Glock 9mm and exited the store when he saw children without their parents screaming and running.
“I’m just thinking about the kids, so I pick up as many as possible and carry them with me and another guy does as well,” Oakley said, adding, “I wasn’t really worried about myself. I was worried about the kids.”
The hero soldier said he did “what I would want somebody else to do” if he had children.
In contrast, President Trump on Sunday called the shooter’s actions acts of “cowardice,” adding that “I know that I stand with everyone in this Country to condemn today’s hateful act. There are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify killing innocent people.”