Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
This Army Recruiter Ran Towards Gunfire During A Gang Shooting At A Salt Lake City Mall
When most people hear the distinctive popping of gunshots, their first instinct is to flee. Not Sgt. Marshall VanHook.
A recruiter with the Herriman U.S. Army Recruiting Station in Salt Lake City, Utah, VanHook had taken his daughter to get her ears pierced at the Fashion Place Mall in nearby Murray on Jan. 13 when an argument between two members of rival gangs escalated into a shootout, according to an Army release.
The sound of gunshots sent hundreds of panicked shoppers running for their lives. But after getting his wife and daughter to safety in a nearby store, VanHook did exactly what so many other public servants do his situation: He ran towards danger.
"My first response was to make sure my family was taken care of," VanHook said in an Army release. "And then it was just a matter of 'I need to stop this before it gets to my family,' so I took off. I ran towards where I thought the threat was at. While I was running there really were no thoughts other than 'take care of business.'"
After running through the mall in an effort to get a description of the suspected shooters, VanHook immediately turned his attention to casualties. Luckily, the crossfire reportedly left only two bystanders wounded, the Associated Press reported; according to the Army, cell phone video showed VanHook using his belt as a tourniquet for one casualty, directing bystanders to assist him as he moved on to the other.
For his part, VanHook chalked his response up to good training. A nine-year member of the Army Reserve, he had previously served as a civil affairs specialist with the 321st Civil Affairs Brigade before becoming a recruiter, according to the Army. Luckily, he completed the Combat Lifesaver Course in 2014, training he drew upon that fateful day.
"Because of the Army, it instilled something in me to react in danger and not to flee from it," VanHook said in the release. ""You go over [the training] and over it. It's just a matter of muscle memory ... There really wasn't thought. It was action."
According to a local ABC News affiliate, Salt Lake City police have arrested at least five of the suspected gang members present during the shooting.
"It makes me angry," VanHook said of the incident."I'm a little angry that something like that happened. It was my daughter's birthday and it kind of messed it up.
SEE ALSO: This Soldier Claimed He Saved An Injured Motorist With A Ballpoint Pen. Well, That's Probably B.S.
WATCH NEXT: Meet The Army Helo Pilot Who Resupplied Hippies At Woodstock
There's nothing quite like finding out that the nifty little trinket you blew a paycheck on when you were a junior enlisted service member is actually worth three-quarters of a million dollars. (Take that every SNCO who ever gave a counseling statement on personal finances.)
Special Operations Command review finds deployment and leadership issues but no 'systemic ethics problem'
The long-awaited Special Operations Command's ethics review has finally been released, which argues that there is no "systemic ethics problem" in the special operations community while acknowledging a range of underlying problems stemming from a high operations tempo and insufficient leadership.
John Kelly, the retired Marine general who worked as President Trump's chief of staff for more than 16 months, told a crowd in Sarasota, Florida on Monday that he trusted John Bolton and thinks he should testify in the Senate impeachment trial.
"If John Bolton says that in the book I believe John Bolton," Kelly said during a town hall lecture series, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, mentioning claims in a forthcoming memoir by Trump's former national security advisor that the president told him a freeze on military aid to Ukraine was conditioned on the country opening an investigation into the Bidens.
While the Army pours resources into Fort Wainwright after suicides, leaders stress one reminder: Look out for your teammates
While the Army is making strides at Fort Wainwright with hopes of improving the quality of life at the base and stopping suicide, Army leaders are also reminding soldiers of one simple thing that could make a difference: Get to know your teammates, and look out for one another.