A victim of the San Bernardino slaughter the FBI is now investigating as an act of terrorism was being remembered Saturday for an incredible act of bravery in the moments before he was killed.
One of the survivors credits Shannon Johnson, 45, with giving his life to save hers after husband and wife killers with assault rifles opened fire on a holiday gathering of government workers, killing 14 people and wounding 21 others.
Denise Peraza, who was shot in the back and is recovering in a hospital, said her heroic co-worker shielded her with his own body when the shooting started, telling her “I got you,” according to WXIA-TV in Georgia.
“Wednesday morning at 10:55 a.m. 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,” she wrote in a tribute to Johnson the station obtained Friday from Peraza’s sister.
“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.’
Peraza, 27, went on to say that she believes she is 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 wrote.
WXIA reported that Peraza called Johnson “my friend, my hero” in her tribute.
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, praised Johnson on her Facebook page, the station reported.
“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.”
Peraza’s tribute was also posted on a GoFundMe page to pay the costs of Johnson’s burial.