'Hero' Coach Who Shielded Students From Gunfire in Florida School Shooting Dies

Aaron Feis, the football coach and security guard at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who stepped in front of a spray of bullets during Wednesday's mass shooting, has died, according to the football team's Twitter account.

"It is with Great sadness that our Football Family has learned about the death of Aaron Feis," a tweet from the account read early Thursday morning. "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."

Feis was hailed as a hero Wednesday afternoon after the shooting in Parkland, Florida that killed 17.

Feis worked as a security guard at the school for at least eight years, the publication noted, and is known for taking his role as a protector very seriously.

"He's very well dedicated to the safety of the school during the daytime," former student Andrew Hofmann told the Miami Herald.

Hofmann described the coach as "a quiet person" with a good sense of humor. "When there's a funny joke he is always laughing for sure," he said.

Feis graduated from Douglas High in 1999 and has worked at the school for his entire coaching career, according to the school's website.

Nikolas Cruz, the suspected gunman who reportedly shot students as they poured into hallways after he triggered a fire alarm, was booked into Broward County Jail Thursday morning on charges of premeditated murder.

Cruz had been expelled from the school last spring for disciplinary reasons, but returned Wednesday wielding an AR-15.

Among the 17 dead are students and adults, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said. Others were injured and taken to hospitals, including at least 14 who were treated at Broward area medical centers.

A sheriff said the bodies of 12 of the dead, including the beloved football coach, were found inside the building.

The first victim to be identified was Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School athletic director Chris Hixon, who was 49 years old. An atheletic director from a nearby high school described Hixon as the "nicest guy I have ever met."

Feis was initially said to be dead Wednesday afternoon, eliciting tributes on social media. Subsequent posts said he was wounded but had initially survived the shooting.


"Coach Feis has not passed. He was shot but is not dead," Jordan May, the son of Stoneman Douglas High head football coach Willis "Peanut" May and himself a member of the coaching staff, said on Twitter. Willis May was in his office when the mass shooting occurred and escaped harm, his son said.

By 9 p.m., the hope that had been rekindled on Twitter was extinguished. Broward Sheriff Scott Israel announced that "a beloved football coach is dead." He did not name the coach.