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King Soopers Employee Ran Back Into Store to Help Co-Worker

Workers say youngest mass shooting victim was like a little brother to them
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2021 8:09 AM CDT

(Newser) – Workers at the King Soopers in Boulder, Colo., targeted by a mass shooter on Monday were a close-knit group—and they are now mourning as if they had lost family members. Store employee Logan Ezra Smith, 20, tells CNN that he had been working as a barista at the Starbucks kiosk when he ran outside the store to see what was going on. He says he ran back inside to help co-workers and customers after he saw the gunman shoot a customer in the parking lot. Smith says he helped his co-worker at the kiosk, a 69-year-old woman, hide under a counter before concealing the kiosk entrance with trash cans, helping customers escape out a side entrance and hiding behind a trash can himself. "Maybe it's who I am, but as a grocery store employee, customers come first for me," he says. "It's customers and my co-workers."

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Three store employees were among the 10 people killed, including Rikky Olds, 25, and Teri Leiker, 51. The youngest victim, 20-year-old Denny Stong, was there shopping on his day off. Smith says Stong was buying a coffee from him when the shooting started. Smith and fellow store employee Emily Giffen, 27—who was shot at in the parking lot but survived uninjured—say Stong was like a little brother to them. "They are like my family here, and now they are just dead on the floor," Giffen tells BuzzFeed. "Denny wasn't even supposed to be there, he was buying a box of strawberries and then he became nothing." His mother, also a King Soopers employee, was on a lunch break during the shooting. "I screamed so much my voice won’t work," she later wrote on Facebook. "He was going to flight school to be a pilot. He was set to solo soon. He is flying solo now." (Read more Boulder shooting stories.)

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