Fort Lauderdale Attack Survivor Prayed and Was Shielded From Gunfire

By The Stream Published on January 9, 2017

Fort Lauderdale shooting survivor Annika Dean was in the baggage claim area when the gunman opened fire. The mother or two looked in the direction of the gunfire, saw the shooter, and ducked for cover behind a SmartCart.

“There wasn’t really anywhere to hide. I couldn’t have escaped. I couldn’t have run,” Dean said during an interview with the Today show.

That’s when Dean prayed.

“I just laid there, praying, essentially, that he wouldn’t find me, but he was definitely walking near my area, shooting as he came,” Dean told CNN. “And I just began praying, praying that my children wouldn’t lose their mother. Prayed that they wouldn’t have a seriously injured mother.”

Dean would later tell The South Florida Sun-Sentinel that she thought she was going to die that day. “I was begging God to save me, and that’s when the man shielded me,” she said.

As Dean was praying, 70-year-old Tony Bartosiewicz climbed on top of her, telling her, “I will protect you.”

It was a quiet act of courage and sacrifice. By the grace of God, both Tony and Annika were spared that day, but five others were killed and six were injured in the shooting rampage.

Annika got to connect with “Tony B.” after the emergency to relay her thanks.

“My entire family, all of my family and all of my friends, we are all just really grateful to Tony. He’s a hero. He was my guardian angel,” Dean said.

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Andi Andrews
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