With his final three words, Georgia native Shannon Hilliard Johnson became a hero. Moments later, Johnson was one of 14 people killed in a mass shooting Dec. 2 in San Bernardino, Calif.
On Saturday, friends and family members will gather to say goodbye to Johnson, whose funeral will be held in Jesup, Ga. Johnson, who lived in Los Angeles, was 45.
An environmental health specialist, Johnson was attending a holiday party with his co-workers when a fellow San Bernardino County employee and his wife opened fire. Johnson had been seated next to a co-worker, Denise Peraza. But when the chaos began, he put his arm around her before shielding her behind a chair.
“I got you,” Johnson said, according to Peraza.
Peraza was shot in the back, but survived. Johnson was killed.
In the days after the shooting, Peraza released a statement detailing Johnson’s heroism in his final moments.
“I believe I am still here today because of this amazing man,” Peraza said. “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. This is Shannon Johnson, who will be deeply missed by all. This is Shannon Johnson. My friend, my hero.”
Visitation for Johnson will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Calvary Baptist Church in Jesup, followed by a memorial service at 11 a.m. Private interment services will be held by the family at a later date in Jesup City Cemetery.
A separate memorial service will also be held in California.
A GoFundMe page called the Shannon Johnson Memorial has been created to assist the family and friends with burial costs.