Aaron Feis, an assistant football coach and security guard at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was among the 17 killed in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday in a mass shooting at the school, sacrificing himself to save others.
The school’s head football coach, Willis May, told the Sun-Sentinel newspaper of Fort Lauderdale, that he heard directly from a student that Feis jumped between her and the gunman, pushing her out through a door and out of the line of fire.
“He died the same way he lived. He put himself second,” Denise Lehito, the communications director for the school’s football program, told the Sun-Sentinel.
The football team on its Twitter account and the players issued statements applauding the bravery and heroism of their beloved coach.
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
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
May said that through the window of the sports department office, where he was hiding, he saw the shooter trying to blend in with the students who were attempting to flee.
The suspect, Nikolas Cruz, 19, entered the high school armed and proceeded to pull the fire alarm to lure students and staff into the hallways before beginning his shooting spree, according to news media reports.
Cruz is being charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
"Suspect has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder."-Sheriff Scott Israel.
— Broward Sheriff (@browardsheriff) February 15, 2018
In light of the attack, the debate on gun rights has returned to the political arena.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told Fox News that it’s too soon to debate whether tighter gun laws could have prevented the attack.
“You should know the facts of that incident before you run out and prescribe some law that you claim could have prevented it,” Rubio said.