In his last act on Earth, Shannon Johnson saved his co-worker’s life by shielding her body with his.
Johnson, 45, and Denise Peraza, 27, were huddled under a table behind a chair during the attack by two extremists in San Bernardino that left 14 people dead.
“While I cannot recall every single second that played out that morning, I will always remember his left arm wrapped around me, holding me as close as possible next to him behind that chair,” Peraza said in a statement obtained by WXIA.
“And amidst all the chaos, I’ll always remember him saying these three words, ‘I got you.'”
— jenheck (@jenheck) December 5, 2015
Peraza, who is still recovering in the hospital, says she’s still alive because of Johnson.
“I believe I am still here today because of this amazing man. This amazing, selfless man who always brought a smile to everyone’s face in the office with his lively stories about his hometown back in Georgia. who will be deeply missed by all,” she said.
“This is Shannon Johnson. My friend, my hero.”
Johnson attended school in Macon and Warrenton before going to college and eventually moving to San Bernardino to work for the health department.
He and Peraza were at a holiday party for the department when Syed Farook, a co-worker, and his wife came in and started killing people.
Johnson’s girlfriend of three years said the couple had discussed what he would do if he was ever in a shooting situation, and Johnson said he’d try to stop the shooter if possible.
“He was not afraid to die,” she told CNN. She added on Facebook that Johnson “was a generous, fun-loving soul who very much loved his family and friends.”
A fund had been started for Johnson at GoFundMe. Read more about Johnson and the other victims here.