A football coach who also worked as the school’s security guard is among the dead in a school shooting that claimed 17 lives in Parkland, Florida.
The Sun Sentinel reported that assistant coach Aaron Feis, acting as a school security guard, responded to the original call on a school walkie-talkie. Someone on the radio asked if loud sounds they heard were firecrackers, said football coach Willis May, who also carries a radio.
“I heard Aaron say, ‘No, that is not firecrackers.’ That’s the last I heard of him,” May said.
Witnesses said that the beloved coach used his body to shield students as the gunman opened fire on the school.
The football program at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tweeted that Feis died while selflessly shielding students.
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
Feis’ family was notified of his passing sometime around midnight Wednesday.
According to one witness, Feis was jumping “in front of bullets to save some student’s lives.”
Fox News reports that “May was in his football office with four players and coaches from Nichols College. May said he saw the shooter outside his office window trying to blend in with fleeing students.”
Feis graduated from the school in 1999 and worked mainly with the junior varsity, the team website said. It said he lived in nearby Coral Springs with his wife and daughter.
The team website said Feis spent his entire coaching career at Marjory Stoneman after playing there as a student.
Feis’ online biography at the team website said he played center at the school from 1995-98, and worked with both junior varsity and varsity lineman. He also served as the college recruiting coordinator and worked with football operations.
“He was a great guy,” sophomore Douglas lineman Gage Gaynor told the newspaper. “Everyone loved him. Shame he had to go like this. Always gave his all to making us better. Definitely learned a lot from him.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article.