Logan Smith, a barista at the King Soopers store in Boulder, hid his co-worker as the gunman stood just feet away. He said there was no time to think during that horrifying moment.
“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.
After calling 911, Smith rushed to protect his 69-year-old coworker behind the store’s Starbucks counter.
“I knew since she is my elder, as she is older than me, I must protect her over myself, and so instinctively, I pushed her into a corner, covered her with trash cans and then tried to find a place for myself,” Smith said.
Standing more than 6 feet tall, 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 said 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,” he said.
Smith, a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, said 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 added 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.
Ten people were killed in the shooting, including police officer Eric Talley, who was the first to respond to the scene, authorities said. Three of those who died were Smith’s coworkers, 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 said 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 added, “The union condemns the senseless violence, calls for investigation and action to prevent future tragedies endangering essential workers already on frontlines of COVID.”