Seventeen fatalities have been reported since the tragic shooting that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida yesterday.
Assistant football coach and security guard, Aaron Feis, was the first of the victims to be identified. He graduated from the high school in 1999 and is survived by his daughter and wife Melissa.
Bravely diving between the shooter and his students to shield them from bullets, Feis died a true hero.
“It is with Great sadness that our Football Family has learned about the death of Aaron Feis,” MS Douglas Football posted in a tweet. “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”
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
Upon answering a walkie-talkie call complaining of “loud pops” inside the school, Feis quickly rushed in to assess the situation and protect those in danger. Head coach Willis May reported to the Sun Sentinel that one student said Feis jumped in front of the gunman and pushed her out of the way,
May, who was in his football office with a few players and coaches from Nichols College, thought the loud popping noises may be firecrackers when the shots first rang out.
“I heard Aaron say, ‘No, that is not firecrackers.’ That’s the last I heard of him,” said May.
“I heard he had used himself to shield other—I believe it was 3 females—in the line of fire,” one of Feis’ players, Colton Haab, told CNN. “He used his body to shield them. “
After sustaining several bullet wounds, Feis later died in the hospital. May says that his family was made aware of his passing around 12 am this morning, and they are still soaking in the heart-shattering news.
Though Feis’ tragic death may have come as a shock, his selfless act of bravery in the face of danger certainly did not.
“This is one of the genuinely greatest people to walk this earth,” tweeted Mike Schmidt. “Jumped in front of the bullets to save some students’ lives… unbelievable.”
this is one of the genuinely greatest people to walk this earth. jumped infront of the bullets to save some students lives… unbelievable. Rest in Paradise, Coach Aaron Feis https://t.co/tIaWfEdZKD
— mike schmidt (@mikeeschmidt) February 15, 2018
“He’s in a better place now,” said Haab of his assistant coach’s passing, later adding that “Football definitely won’t be the same. We’re definitely going to have to band back together as brothers and mourn his loss and pick up the pieces to try to rebuild our football team.
The team’s spokesperson, Denise Lehito told CNN, “He died the same way he lived—he put himself second … He was a very kind soul, a very nice man. He died a hero.”