VIA| A man who shielded a coworker as a final act before he died in Wednesday’s terror attack in San Bernardino is being hailed as a hero.
27-year-old Denise Peraza said Shannon Johnson, 45, wrapped his arm around his younger coworker, said “I got you,” and saved her life.
Peraza shared the story of her survival and paid tribute to Johnson, whom she called an “amazing” and “selfless” man:
This is Shannon Johnson. Wednesday morning at 10:55 am we were seated next to each other at a table, joking about how we thought the large clock on the wall might be broken because time seemed to be moving so slowly. I would have never guessed that only 5 minutes later, we would be huddled next to each other under that same table, using a fallen chair as a shield from over 60 rounds of bullets being fired across the room.
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.
And amidst all the chaos, I’ll always remember him saying these three words, “I got you.”
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.
This is Shannon Johnson. My friend, my hero.
Johnson was a Georgia native who drove 18-wheelers cross-country for a living until he went to college and graduated, the station reported. Ten years ago he got a job with the San Bernardino County Public Health Department.
Peraza’s sister, Stephanie Rose Baldwin, also praised Johnson on her Facebook page.
“This angel of a man was sitting next to my sister when the shooting happened,” Baldwin wrote. “He helped protect her from the bullets and we are so grateful for his heroic love, that most likely saved her life. She said he was a very sweet man and she spoke with him often at work. Our heart breaks hearing of his passing, and it bursts knowing of his love for my sister.”
A GoFundMe page was set up to pay the costs of Johnson’s burial. On the page it says that Johnson’s girlfriend wants to make it explicit that all leftover proceeds would be used to spread his message of “I Got You.”
Learn more about the fourteen victims of the San Bernardino massacre here.