Stoneman Douglas football coach described as ‘hero’ who died while shielding students

PARKLAND, FLA. (WSVN) - Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was the site of a horrific shooting that claimed 17 lives, and the school’s football team tweeted Thursday morning that a coach was among those dead.

According to a tweet by Stoneman Douglas Football, assistant football coach Aaron Feis — who also served as a security guard — died during Wednesday’s shooting. Part of the tweet reads: “He selflessly shielded students from the shooter when he was shot.”

Former student Brandon Corona said that Feis was one of the most important people in the building.

“I think they lost the heart of the school,” Corona said. “I just think that’s what you want your heart to be: loving, caring, kind, always on the go.”

The 37-year-old died shielding students from danger.

“He actually jumped in front of three girls, I believe,” said student Aaron Kalidyn. “He was able to block a bullet and at least saved their lives.”

Junior Colton Haab was thinking about his coach before hearing the news of Feis’ death.

“I’m just thinking about my Coach Feis,” said Haab. “I don’t know if he’s alive, if he’s passed.”

Haab added that Feis was always willing to help as many people as he could.

Feis responded to the initial call on the school’s security walkie-talkies, the Sun Sentinel reported. When asked if the loud noise was a bunch of firecrackers, Feis said no.

“I heard Aaron say, ‘No, that is not firecrackers.’ That’s the last I heard of him,” Douglas football coach Willis May told the Sun Sentinel.

Haab added that Feis ran toward the gunfire.

“He was designated a parking lot outside the freshman building,” said Haab, “so I heard that he was running towards it when it all happened and that he shielded a couple of people and took some fire from him. He took three gunshots.”

Social media posts from teammates also said Feis took “several bullets” while shielding other students.

Feis played for Stoneman Douglas High from 1995-98 and returned to coach his alma mater in 2002.

Students said Feis took the time to know them and worked to keep them on the right path.

No one was surprised that he sacrificed himself, not even Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. “When Aaron Feis died, when he was killed tragically, inhumanely, he did it protecting others,” he said. “That’s who Aaron Feis was.”

Corona said the best way to honor his former coach is to be like him. “One thing that I think we all could do as a community, as a school, as a nation, is just trying to live a little bit the way Aaron did,” Corona said. “Be who you are, love anyone that comes into your life, and just try to give it the best you can.”

“He died a hero, and he will forever be in our hearts and memories,” said the football program.

A verified GoFundMe page has been set up for the Feis family. To donate, click here.

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