LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The longtime girlfriend of a man killed in the San Bernardino massacre talked Saturday about her emotional meeting with President Obama.
The President and First Lady came to San Bernardino Friday and met with the families and loved ones of the 14 people killed in the massacre on December 2.READ MORE: Kempe's Two Goals Help Put Kings Over Oilers, 5-1
Mandy Pifer told CBS2’s Laurie Perez she wished her boyfriend Shannon had been able to attend the meeting.
“I wish Shannon had been there with me,” Pifer said.
She got to spend ten minutes with the president and Mrs. Obama.
“The world lost a genuinely kind and caring and compassionate person who was on a mission to kind of spread that to the world and everybody he met,” Pifer said.
The Obamas spent nearly three hours meeting with the families at Indian Springs High School — a location that was kept secret last night.
Pifer said the Obamas gave her many words of comfort that helped her immeasurably.
“So, he said, words are not enough. ‘How about a hug?’ And I said absolutely, I’ve been waiting on that and even when I held the hug maybe a little longer than they were comfortable with, they stood in there with me.”
The meeting came under tragic circumstances but Pifer said she took the opportunity to push for something positive — an apolitical plan to teach school children about being a good friend to others. The Obamas, she said, were on board with her “I got you” project. The initiative is aptly named — when Johnson was wounded and dying, he still thought enough to cradle a co-worker — to protect her — and in his final moments said, “I got you.”READ MORE: Woman Found Shot To Death In South LA, Shooting Suspect Still At-Large
“I felt like they were really present,” Pifer said, “I was touching knees with the President, the First Lady was holding my hand.”
Some — like San Bernardino County Supervisor Chuck Hagman — were critical of the president for not coming to San Bernardino sooner.
Pifer told Perez that she wasn’t ready to meet with the president any sooner than she did. As she was about to meet the first couple, she said she actually thought about how many times they’ve have to ready for such somber meetings with victims’ families.
“One of the first things I said was ‘You must be so tired of doing this, you know’ and they are. But they’ll keep doing it,” Pifer said.
The president told her the meeting was inspiring in this holiday time of faith and family.
“As difficult as this time is for them and for the entire community, they’re also representative of the strength and the unity and the love that exists in this community and in this country,” President Obama said.MORE NEWS: Man Found Dead In Dumpster In South Los Angeles
Pifer also told Perez that she forgot to ask the president for an autograph — for Johnson’s brother — so she emailed the White House and was told that the autograph is on its way.