The two California Army recruiters who rushed towards danger in July when they heard gunshots in the San Bruno, California shopping mall where they were working have been awarded the service's highest non-combat medal for valor.
Kelli Bland, a spokesperson for U.S. Army Recruiting, told Task & Purpose that the two soldiers were presented the medals by Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, the head of USAREC, on Nov. 8.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Staff Sgts. Michael Marl and Isaiah Locklear “ran toward a bullet storm that afternoon instead of away.”
“I don't like being in the limelight,” Marl told the Chronicle. “I'd rather forget about the whole thing.”
Staff Sgts. Michael Marl (left) and Isaiah Lockler (right). (U.S. Army Recruiting Command)
Original reports described how the two rushed to the aid of two boys — a 12- and 16-year-old — who were victims of the shooting at the Shops of Tanforan Mall.
The two soldiers provided first aid to the boys until paramedics arrived.
Locklear told local news at the time of the incident that the 16-year-old he was helping was “laying on the floor” and saying he didn't want to die.
“That really hit me,” he told California Fox affiliate KTVU. “He didn't want to die. I was telling him he wasn't going to die. I said I was going to stick with him through it.”
Locklear saw the boy and his family a few days after the shooting, per the Chronicle, but hasn't seen them since.