Aaron Feis, an assistant football coach and security guard at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, was among the 17 people shot and killed Wednesday at the Florida high school.
The coach is being hailed a hero, as he died protecting students from 19-year-old gunman Nikolas Cruz, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
It is with Great sadness that our Football Family has learned about the death of Aaron Feis. He was our Assistant Football Coach and security guard. He selflessly shielded students from the shooter when he was shot. He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories pic.twitter.com/O181FvuHl3
— MS Douglas Football (@MSDEagles) February 15, 2018
The Sun-Sentinel spoke with Douglas football coach Willis May, who said he was told by a student that Feis jumped between her and the shooter.
Several social media accounts shared the same story:
Can everyone please take a second to pray for my coach today he took serval bullets covering other students at Douglas . pic.twitter.com/8AMG7t6tpH
— Charlie Rothkopf (@RothkopfCharlie) February 14, 2018
“It is with Great sadness that our Football Family has learned about the death of Aaron Feis,” the Douglas football team’s Twitter account posted early Thursday morning. “He was our Assistant Football Coach and security guard. He selflessly shielded students from the shooter when he was shot. He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories.”
May told the Sun-Sentinel that he heard Feis respond to the original call about the shooting over the school’s security walkie-talkies.
“I heard Aaron say, ‘No, that is not firecrackers.’ That’s the last I heard of him,” May said.
May said Feis was a great person to know.
“Big ol’ teddy bear,” May said of Feis. “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.”
Feis graduated from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 1999 and returned to the school as a coach in 2002, according to his biography on the school’s athletic website.
He served as head coach of the JV team for eight seasons. He also worked as the school’s college recruiting coordinator.