When two shooters unleashed a hail of at least 65 bullets at the Inland Regional Center Wednesday, one of the men who was killed tried to shield a co-worker, a move that she says saved her life.
“I got you,” Shannon Johnson told Denise Peraza, according to a statement obtained from her family by ABC News.
Johnson was one of 14 people killed during the massacre, which is now being investigated as an act of terrorism. Some 21 people were also injured in the attack, during a holiday party and training event for the San Bernardino County Health Department.
According to the statement, Peraza said that she and Johnson were sitting together about 5 minutes before the attack joking about how time was 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.” Peraza said in the statement.
Though she said she couldn’t recall every detail of that traumatic 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,'” she recalled, according to the statement.
“I believe I am still here today because of this amazing man.”
Peraza, who was released from the hospital today after being shot in the back, said Johnson “always brought a smile to everyone’s face in the office with his lively stories about his hometown back in Georgia,” she said.
“This is Shannon Johnson, who will be deeply missed by all…My friend, my hero.”
Johnson had worked as an environmental specialist at the department for 10 years and nearly all who were killed and wounded in the attack were county employees.
“Shannon was a generous, fun-loving soul, who very much loved his family and friends,” said a statement from his family and friends. “Shannon was a protector to all of those he loved.”