A man who gave his life to shield one of his co-workers during last week’s deadly San Bernardino massacre is being hailed as a hero by those who knew him–and the young woman he saved.
“I believe I am still here today because of this amazing man,” newlywed Denise Peraza, 27, told KTLA news of Shannon Johnson. “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.”
Johnson had reportedly tried to shield Peraza from the close to 75 rounds of bullets that were sprayed across a room at the Inland Regional Center where Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik were targeting Farook’s co-workers during a holiday party.
Fourteen people, including Johnson, were killed during Wednesday’s rampage before officers took Farook and Malik down in a gun battle that ensued.
Johnson’s heroism was also confirmed by his girlfriend of three years Mandy Pifer, who KTLA notes is “a longtime member of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Crisis Response Team.”
“He was not afraid to die,” Pifer reportedly told CNN.
A real hero: Shannon Johnson. Remember him! pic.twitter.com/cK8kDg5yFx
— mhs (@ohululu) December 6, 2015
Investigation has suggested that Farook and/or Malik was in close contact with loyalists to the Islamic State through social media.
Breitbart News also reported that Farook’s father, Syed Farook, provided an interview with an Italian newspaper in which he described his son’s obsession with Israel. He noted that his son held the same views as Islamic State “caliph” Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi. “I told him he had to stay calm and be patient because in two years Israel will not exist anymore. Geopolitics is changing: Russia, China and America don’t want Jews there any more,” Syed reportedly said.
Ironically, Johnson defended Farook’s religious freedom. According to CNN, Johnson’s girlfriend recalled how he “would talk to [Farook] and just let him know that if anybody is disrespecting your religion [Islam[–eff them.”
The FBI is now investigating the massacre as an act of terrorism.
— Kate Larsen (@KateNBCLA) December 5, 2015