HERO: Football coach killed while saving students during Florida school shooting


Aaron Feis, an assistant football coach, was killed during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Feis was among 17 people killed when a former student armed with a rifle opened fired on campus.

It would become perhaps the final act undertaken by the assistant coach, who suffered a gunshot wound and later died after he was rushed into surgery, according to the school's football program and its spokeswoman, Denise Lehtio.

"He died the same way he lived -- he put himself second," Lehtio said. "He was a very kind soul, a very nice man. He died a hero."

Feis was seen jumping “in front of bullets to save some students' lives,” according to one person.

“He was a great guy,” said Gage Gaynor, a sophomore who plays football for the high school, in remarks about Feis to the Sun Sentinel. “Everyone loved him. Shame he had to go like this. Always gave his all to making us better. Definitely learned a lot from him.”

Feis graduated from the school in 1999, and in 2002 joined the junior varsity football team as head coach. He is survived by his wife Melissa and his daughter, according to a bio posted to the school’s website.

Colton Haab, a 17-year-old junior and football player who was close with Feis, said he heard the coach shielded three girls from gunfire.

"That's Coach Feis," Haab said, describing the educator as selfless, approachable and friendly.

"(He) made sure everyone else's needs were met before his own. He was a hard worker. He worked after school, on the weekends, mowing lawns, just helping as many people as possible," Haab said.

Haab last saw Feis Tuesday morning in a school hallway, he said. They talked "about normal stuff," like work and football.

"I'm glad he didn't suffer that much," the teenager said. "It's sad because it's not going to be the same without him at school anymore, that's for sure. Football definitely won't be the same. We're definitely going to have to band back together as brothers and mourn his loss and pick up the pieces to try to rebuild our football team."

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