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Former Hazleton resident aids California shooting victims

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(WBRE/WYOU) –A California man with ties to our region is being called a hero tonight after he helped save the lives of two shooting victims inside a mall.

Many folks are calling this a real-life story of heroism. Army staff sergeant Isaiah Locklear, who was raised in Hazleton, ran toward the gunfire and then helped the shooting victims until police and paramedics arrived on teh scene.

Video was taken from a camera inside a police car outside the shops of Tanforan Mall in San Bruno, California Tuesday afternoon. You can see people running for cover. As gunshots rang out, Army recruiter, 28-year-old Isaiah Locklear was talking with a recruit inside his office.

“She asked a question and shots rang out,” Locklear said.

Locklear ran towards the sounds of that gunfire.

“We found a victim shot in the stomach one was shot in the leg. The one that was shot in the stomach was 16 the one shot in the leg was 12 years old,” Locklear said.

A photo shows a shirtless Locklear kneeling over the 16-year-old. The two boys were caught in the crossfire of two men firing at each other inside the mall.

“When I went out he immediately caught my attention. He was laying on the floor waving I’ve been shot, I’ve been shot. I rushed over, took my shirt off, stuffed my fist and shirt into his stomach to stop the bleeding. I started checking his body to make sure he wasn’t shot anyplace else. The bullet went into his stomach and out the back,” Locklear said.

So what was he thinking as the drama was unfolding?

“I mean as a soldier you don’t have time to think. You have time to do. Our actions speak for our thinking and that’s what we train. That’s why we train, train and retrain,” Locklear said.

Locklear was raised in Hazleton and graduated from Hazleton Area High School. His sister Annie Mendez was stunned when she heard about the shooting.

“First thing I said are you okay? I said what happened? He told me the story. I said I’m very proud of you but I’m not surprised. He literally would take his shirt off his back to help somebody that’s the kind of kid he is,” Mendez said.

“I don’t consider myself a hero. I’m just a soldier. I was in the right spot at the right time and was happy to help the kid out,” Locklear said.

Locklear said he would react in the very same way if something like this would happen again. The two boys who were shot are expected to survive their injuries.

The two gunmen are still at large. Police are not saying what the motive was for the gunfire. They do not believe the victims were intended targets.

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