A Rochester, New York man who found himself in the midst of the shooting at the Fort Lauderdale airport on Friday, performed a courageous feat that everyone should know about. He thought nothing of himself and looked to protect the nearest woman to him, from gunfire.
Tony Bartosiewicz, 70, was close to Annika Dean, a Florida school teacher, when the shots were fired. Dean, who said the shooter was getting closer to where she was, instinctively fell down flat on the ground for cover.
That’s when Bartosiewicz saw an opportunity to lend her some more protection. The Florida Sun Sentinel reported on the what transpired:
“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.”
The mother of two said she was waiting for her luggage when she heard gunfire start to pop off. From where she was, there was nowhere to hide.
“There was no way I could have escaped. I would have been right in his path if I had tried to evacuate through the doors.”
Dean said that after the police stormed the scene and it was clear that the gunman had been caught and detained, she and Bartosiewicz stood up off the floor and neither were harmed.
“The first thing I said to him was I thanked him and told him that it was terrifying and what he did brought me comfort, that it was just so comforting. I thanked him throughout the day and told him he was a hero.”
Bartosiewicz could not immediately be reached for his take on the story. The Sentinel did reach Bartosiewicz’s daughter, Jenny Miller, who wasn’t surprised that her father did what he did:
“He would do something like this without thinking.”