A man from Rochester, New York found himself in the middle of a shooting that broke out in at the Fort Lauderdale airport just days ago and he has a story about what happened that deserves to be heard. He’s a hero!
Anika Dean is a school teacher and mom of 2 who was attempting to fly home early as shots began to ring out in the airport. Anika has received regular training for events like this, so she knew what was happening. The gunman was just feet from her when a 70-year-old man helped her survive by shielding her.
From Sun Sentinel:
“He basically climbed on top of me and whispered, ‘I will protect you,’” said Dean, 42. “I knew he might be a victim, but I also knew I would survive.”
Bullets flew above him, but both survived.
The man is Tony Bartosiewicz, a retired electrician from Rochester, N.Y. He is on a cruise and couldn’t be reached, his daughter, Jenny Miller of Denver said. Miller said he was shaken up by the event when she talked to him Friday. Bartosiewicz’s wife, Jennifer Cleeton, was in a different part of the baggage claim area at the time.
Miller said selflessness is a trait of her father, who even saved her from drowning in a pool when she was a little girl.
“That’s the kind of person he is. He would do something like this without thinking,” she said.
Dean had planned to return to South Florida on Sunday but flew back two days early because of a winter storm in Atlanta.
She was in the baggage claim carousel of Terminal 2 when she heard the gunfire.
An art teacher at two schools in Broward County, she had gone through several training drills through the district that planned for a shooter on campus. These trainings have become common since the Columbine High massacre in 1999.
The training served her well on Friday.
“I knew immediately what was happening. I knew it wasn’t a firecracker. I then looked and saw the shooter who was 30 or 40 feet away and walking toward us,” she said. “There was no safe place for cover.”
She also knew to stay as calm as possible. Since it wasn’t safe for her to run, she went flat onto the ground. She said her biggest fear was that her two sons, ages 13 and 11, woudn’t have a mother anymore.
“I was begging God to save me, and that’s when the man shielded me,” she said.
What an amazing heroic act by a selfless man who was willing to give up his own life for a complete stranger!