Logan Ezra Smith, 20, was working at a Starbucks kiosk when a customer said there was an active shooter in the parking lot.
A store clerk went outside to check and saw a customer fall to the ground, shot. He also saw that a colleague was shot during the incident.
Smith said he went back inside, called 911 from the phone in the store and hid his employee, a 69-year-old woman, under the counter, then placed trash cans in front of the opening to hide her.
Maybe it’s just me, but as a store clerk, customers come to me first. They are clients and my colleagues. I was willing to sacrifice myself, and death was something I had already accepted, Smith said. I think she’s older than me, she’s my oldest, so I have to protect her.
Smith said he helped customers escape through the west entrance and then hid behind another trash can at a Starbucks kiosk.
I’m pretty tall, I’m about 6 feet, so I can’t possibly hide, Smith said. So if a shooter came to my booth and saw me, I would be in a life-threatening situation.
Smith said that in the two minutes he was near her, the shooter came within 10 to 15 feet of her cover several times.
One of the scariest things was the silence in the store, because I didn’t hear him say a word, Smith said. In fact, it was quiet from the start. All we heard were gunshots, then the music from the store and the automatic messages.
After the shooting, police saw Smith and a woman wearing a Starbucks apron being led into the store, and she appeared to touch his back for support.
He stated that he and his colleague did not speak until they were taken to the police station.
When we were released at the station, we hugged, calmed down and just chatted, Smith said.
Monday’s victims are: Eric Talley, 51, a Boulder police officer; Ricky Olds, 25, a branch manager; Danny Stong, 20, a branch employee; Teri Laker, 51, a branch employee; Cousins Stanisic, 23; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; Jody Waters, 65.
Kroger, who owns King Supes, said in a statement Tuesday that he was appalled and heartbroken by the senseless violence.
In the hours following the shooting, we heard of truly heroic acts by assistants, clients and first responders who acted defenselessly to protect and save others. We will be eternally grateful to the first responders who so bravely stood up for our partners and customers, the company said.
The United Food and Commercial Workers union, which represents grocery store workers in Colorado, also praised her for her courage.
We are very grateful to the grocery store employees, customers and first responders for their courageous action, which prevented further deaths, the union said in a statement.
Smith said he and Stong had known each other for a few years, but became good friends the year Smith worked at the store.
We broke up when we were a month and a half old, so I’d say he’s my little brother, Smith said. We had fun together and hung out almost every day.
He said they were both gun owners and Second Amendment advocates, and often went shooting in the mountains on weekends.
Smith said Stong was at the store running errands and buying coffee for him when the shooting began. He ran away, and Smith said that was the last time he saw him.
I was strangely surprised to see him, and I’m glad I got to see him on his last day, he said.