Florida school shooting: Hero football coach dies shielding students at high school
Aaron Feis, a graduate of the school who also worked as its security guard, was killed Wednesday
Aaron Feis, a 1999 graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and assistant coach on the school's football team, was the first confirmed casualty in the horrific mass shooting that took the lives of 17 an injured many more in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday afternoon.
According to the Miami Herald and CBS Miami, citing those at the scene, Feis, 37, shielded students from bullets by pushing them inside a classroom to protect them, laying down his own life for others.
The school's football account issued a statement on his passing early Thursday morning.
Willie May, the school's head football coach, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that he heard Feis responding to a report on the school's walkie-talkie about a sound that resembled firecrackers.
"I heard Aaron say, 'No, that is not firecrackers.' That's the last I heard of him," May said.
Feis, who played for the Eagles from 1995-98 before returning to his alma mater in 2002, is remembered as a man who cared deeply about his players, students and family.
"Big ol' teddy bear," May said of Feis, according to the Sun-Sentinel. "Hardcore -- he coached hard. Real good line. He did a great job with the [offensive] line. He took pride with working with those guys. Loyalty -- I trusted him. He had my back. He worked hard. Just a good man. Loved his family. Loved his brother -- just an excellent family man."
Authorities apprehended Nikolas Cruz, 19, shortly after the incident. He reportedly opened fire around 2 p.m. ET with an AR-15 assault rifle.
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