“Amidst all the chaos, I’ll always remember him saying these three words, ‘I got you,'” Denise Peraza said of Johnson, one of 14 people killed during the shooting. Peraza was wounded in the attack.
AS THE names of the 14 victims of Wednesday’s San Bernardino mass shooting have been released, so too have some of the stories of courage and heroism.
One such story is that of Shannon Johnson, 45, who amid the gunfire wrapped a protective arm around colleague Denise Peraza, 27, and told her “I got you” as they huddled behind a fallen chair.
“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,” Mrs Peraza said in a statement given by her husband to CNN.
“And amidst all the chaos, I’ll always remember him saying these three words, ‘I got you.’”
Mrs Peraza recalled how just minutes before the two attackers started shooting, she and Mr Johnson had been joking about how the clock must be broken because time was moving so slowly, reports NY Daily News.
According to CNN, the pair had worked in the same office together until two months ago when Mrs Peraza had moved to another office.
Mr Johnson was killed in the shooting, but thanks to his incredible act of selflessness, Mrs Peraza managed to escape with her life.
“I believe I am still here today because of this amazing man,” she said of her brave colleague.
“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 tale of heroism came of little surprise to Mr Johnson’s girlfriend of three years, Mandy Pifer.
“Nobody is surprised,” Ms Pifer told NY Daily News. “Shannon would be just so embarrassed by all this attention and being called a hero. But nobody is surprised.”
But while Mr Johnson’s actions may have been in keeping with his character, Ms Pifer said it was still nice to know that his last moments were spent saving someone else.
“The comfort in hearing those words is amazing. It was just so sweet. It was great. He’s a hometown hero to a lot of people.”
When asked about her stance on guns, Ms Pifer refused to pick a side, but made it clear something needs to be done.
“I’m not pro-gun or anti-gun. I’m just against people killing innocent people with guns,” Pifer told NY Daily News.
“If we could just get a pause on gun sales until we figure out what is going on, that might help. Let’s just have a prohibition, just for little bit and see what happens,” she said. “Ultimately, I don’t know the answer. I just don’t think anybody else should have a loved one killed like this, while they’re at a holiday party.”