Denise Peraza recalls huddling under table with her hero, Shannon Johnson

Denise Peraza is alive today because her friend, Shannon Johnson, protected her during the San Bernardino mass shooting.

"He just put his arm around me, and he said, 'I got you,'" Peraza said during an exclusive interview with ABC News.

The 27-year-old environmental health specialist huddled under a table in the conference with Johnson, who did not survive.

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"He just did it instinctively," Peraza said. "They say that he didn't just save me, he saved our whole family."

Peraza recalled the terrifying moments after the shooters entered the room.

"Obviously, I was very scared. You only see these things in movies, you know?" she said. "Gunpowder smell, I'll never forget it ever."

As she held back tears, Peraza said, "I'm so glad I was saved by him."

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She was shot once in the side. Struggling to stay silent during the attack, Peraza hoped the shooters would think she was dead and move on.

"I remember it being quiet, and me just trying to control my breathing so that if they were still there, they would think I was dead," she said.

She managed to call her husband after the shooters left the room.

"It was devastating, very devastating," he said. "I almost lost her in that moment."

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