Funerals held for 3 slain in California shooting

13 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Funerals held for 3 San Bernardino shooting victims (photos).

Those close to Shannon Johnson knew him to be fearless — whether he was moving across the country to pursue love, rescuing stray animals in the path of a wildfire, or trying to shield a co-worker from gunfire during the last moments of his life. Johnson was sitting next to Peraza at a holiday luncheon for San Bernardino County environmental health employees on Dec. 2 when Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 29, opened fire. The 45-year-old health inspector from Los Angeles received a hero’s funeral Saturday in his home state of Georgia 10 days after the massacre in San Bernardino, California. The family of 45-year-old Johnson planned a funeral service Saturday at a Baptist church in the rural city of Jesup, where his late father grew up and where his grandmother lives. A colleague wounded in the attack, Denise Peraza, said later that Johnson wrapped an arm tightly around her as bullets went flying and assured her: “I got you.” Those would be his last words.

He’s always been that way,” Rob Johnson, Shannon Johnson’s older brother, told reporters before the service. “I’m sure that when he saw the young lady, he thought of his sister or his girlfriend or his former wife. He’s a man of action.” At Johnson’s memorial service, about 200 people filed into the church where roses, lilies and carnations sent by mourners decorated the pulpit amid strands of white lights and potted poinsettias set out for the Christmas season. Ed Bacon, a family relative, noted Johnson’s selfless final act echoed that of his father, who died while saving another man during an industrial accident at a Kentucky paper mill in 1978. Johnson grew up in the Macon area, where he played baseball and football in high school, Bacon said, and drove a Honda hatchback with a stereo so loud that people could hear him coming from blocks away.

When wildfires raged in Southern California years ago, his brother said, Johnson rounded up stray pets in his pickup and took them to a church for shelter. He also had tattoos for his mother, father and two ex-wives, who shared space on Johnson’s body along with inked portraits of the Virgin Mary and “Gone With the Wind” actress Vivien Leigh. Johnson’s brother said that as relatives gathered in Georgia to say goodbye, their grandmother, Willie Dell Johnson, helped put the tragedy of his death into perspective. Nghi Van Nguyen, grandmother of Tin Nguyen,watches over her granddaughter’s coffin as a priest splashes holy water during her funeral on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015, in Santa Ana, Calif.

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