Ten people, including a police officer, were killed on Monday afternoon when a man opened fire inside a King Soopers supermarket in the city of Boulder, Colorado, in what was the latest of several high-profile mass shootings in the state over the past 25 years.
Logan Smith, a 20-year-old Starbucks employee working at a kiosk in the supermarket, told Fox 31 on Tuesday that he hid his 69-year-old colleague underneath several bins when the gunman entered the store on Monday.
Mr Smith said that his decision to hide his colleague was “instinctive” after he witnessed the alleged shooter fire at a customer outside of the store.
He explained that immediately after he saw the incident occur, he called the authorities and looked for a place for himself and his colleague to hide.
“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,” Mr Smith told Fox 31.
The 20-year-old explained that he waited in a small bin, which his head stuck out of the top of, while the gunman walked just a few feet away from the Starbucks counter located in the store.
He confirmed that he lost three of his co-workers during the mass shooting on Monday, as 10 people including police officer Eric Talley were killed.
“I believe the officer that was shot at the entrance, he is the biggest hero of it all,” Mr Smith said when asked why he did not consider himself a hero for his actions on Monday.
The barista told Fox 31 that he just did his job during the incident, saying that “if anyone was going to die, it was me before my customers, before my co-workers,” explaining that he signed a statement when he was hired that “the customers are first”.
Mr Smith then paid tribute to the people killed on Monday, adding: “Having lost three best friends yesterday puts it into perspective the lives of other families and I am with you and thoughts and prayers.”