Assistant football coach Aaron Feis, who is being hailed as a hero, was among those killed during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday, head football coach Willis May told the Sun Sentinel.
May told the Sun Sentinel that the family of Feis, who also served as a security guard at the school, was notified of his death late Wednesday or early Thursday morning.
Police have said at least 17 people were killed and more than a dozen wounded in Wednesday’s shooting in Parkland, Florida.
“I heard Aaron say, ‘No, that is not firecrackers,” May told the Sun Sentinel of Feis’ response to the initial call on the school’s security walkie-talkies. “That’s the last I heard of him.”
The Twitter account of the school’s football team said Feis, who coached linemen for the football program, died while protecting students from the 19-year-old gunman. Expelled student Nikolas Cruz was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder on Thursday morning.
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
May told the Sun Sentinel that a student told him that Feis pushed her out of the line of fire while jumping between her and the shooter.
According to his biography on the school’s athletic website, Feis graduated from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 1999, returned to the school as a coach in 2002 and served as head coach of the JV team for eight seasons. He also served as the school’s college recruiting coordinator.
“Big ol’ teddy bear,” May said of Feis to the Sun Sentinel. “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.”