Football Coach Died Trying To Protect His Students During Florida School Shooting

The life and bravery of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s assistant football coach Aaron Feis is being honored today. He was killed while trying to shield and protect the students during a deadly shooting rampage at the school yesterday (Feb. 14).

The family of Mr. Feis, who also served as one of the school’s security guards, was notified of his death “around midnight Wednesday or very early Thursday morning,” reports the Sun Sentinel. Feis responded to initial reports of the attack via his walkie-talkie at the school. Someone on the device asked if the noise was firecrackers, and football coach Willis May said that Feis said “No, that is not firecrackers.”

Feis reportedly jumped directly in front of a student and the shooter, 19-year-old former student Nikolas Cruz. The coach managed to push her out of the way and out of the line of fire.

When asked about what type of person his assistant coach was, May said that Mr. Feis was a “big ol’ teddy bear,” who was very good at making sure the team played well.

“Hardcore – he coached hard,” he explained. “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.” A graduate of Stoneman Douglas’ class of 1999, who played center during his time on the team, Feis leaves behind a wife and a daughter.

Nikolas Cruz was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. The tragedy left 17 people dead and dozens more injured. This is the 18th school shooting in the U.S. in 2018.

“Our District is dealing with an unimaginable tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland,” wrote the school district’s Superintendent, Robert W. Runcie. “There are no words to express the sorrow that we are all feeling. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, as well as the entire Marjory Stoneman Douglas community.”