Barista saves senior co-worker by covering her with trash cans during Colorado supermarket shooting

West

BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — A young barista heroically sheltered his elderly coworker from a gunman, saving her life during the mass shooting at a Colorado supermarket that left 10 people dead this week.

Logan Smith was working at the Starbucks inside the King Soopers grocery store when he heard gunshots. Smith said once he heard the shots, he made split-second decisions during the horrifying moments.

“When I ran outside, I, unfortunately, did see the gunman shoot a customer who was approaching the building in the back. The customer fell to the ground,” Smith said.

Smith called 911, then rushed to protect his 69-year-old coworker behind the store’s Starbucks counter.

“I knew since she is my elder, she is older than me, I must protect her over myself,” Smith said. “Instinctively I pushed her into a corner, covered her with trash cans and then tried to find a place for myself.”

At a height of more than six feet, he found it a challenge to find a place to hide.

“My last resort was a trash can that my head was visible outside of so I wasn’t in the safest situation,” he said.

As Smith waited, he heard the gunman approach, standing in an area approximately 13 feet away from the coffee counter. Smith describes the moment as the “longest 20 minutes of my life.”

Smith says the gunman quietly made his way through the store and “not a single word was said from him, from what I could hear, until police arrived, they shouted at him gunshots were fired it was just silence and the store music.”

A member of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Smith says he considered his actions to be part of his job.

“As a grocery store employee, we signed the paper when we got the job the customers are first and I’ll put my life underneath their lives. If anyone was going to die, it was me before my customers, before my coworkers,” he said.

Smith adds that while he appreciates those who call him a hero, it does not apply to him.

“I don’t consider myself a hero. I believe our police department, I believe the officer that was shot at the entrance, he is the biggest hero of it all,” he said.

Smith lost three co-workers in the shooting, including Denny Stong.

He painfully reflects on the last time he spoke with Stong saying, “I saw him yesterday, he got coffee from me,” Smith said.

Smith says Stong was a caring and honest friend with an exceptionally strong work ethic. He hopes the community will come together to support the grieving families.

“I am with you and (with) thoughts and prayers,” he said.

The Union for Colorado Grocery Workers issued a statement saying “every day of this pandemic, grocery workers have been bravely putting their health at risk on the frontlines of COVID-19 to keep our families fed. This shooting is a tragic reminder that the pandemic is not the only threat our communities face.”

The statement adds, “The union condemns the senseless violence, calls for investigation and action to prevent future tragedies endangering essential workers already on frontlines of COVID.”

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