Football coach who used body to shield students during Florida high school shooting dies

Aaron Feis was a true hero in the most gut-wrenching and saddening since of the word.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School assistant football coach was one of 17 fatalities to be identified from a mass shooting at the Parkland, Fla. high school on Wednesday. He reportedly died as a result of wounds from using his body as a shield for students during the attack.

The news of his death was confirmed by the school’s head coach, Willis May, in comments made to The Sun-Sentinel’s David Furones. The football program’s official Twitter account also shared the news of his passing, which the family was reported informed of near midnight on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning.

“It is with Great sadness that our Football Family has learned about the death of Aaron Feis,” the tweet said. “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”

Feis was credited with using his own body to shield students during the attack by a gunman who has been identified as 17-year-old Nikolas Cruz. May told The Sun-Sentinel that he “heard directly from a student that Feis jumped between her and the shooter, to push her out through a door and out of the line of fire.” May also revealed to the paper that the last words he heard from Feis were “No, that is not firecrackers.” before he went to his duties as one of the school’s security personnel.

Word of his actions quickly spread across social media as students and football players shared his photograph and words of encouragement after it was revealed that he was one of the people hit by gunfire in his attempts to defend the children.

According to The Sun-Sentinel’s report, Weis coached offensive line for the school’s football team, and was the junior varsity coach and college recruiting coordinator as well. His bio on the school website indicates that he leaves behind a wife and a daughter.

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