A heroic story of a football coach emerged from the darkness of Wednesday’s school shooting in Florida.
Aaron Feis, the assistant football coach and a security guard at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, was one of the 17 people who died in the Parkland high school shooting.
Denise Lehtio, the football program’s spokeswoman, said Feis threw himself in front of students during the shooting, according to CNN.
"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."
Social media accounts throughout the day praised Feis for his heroic efforts during the shooting. Many said he shielded students from gunfire.
The Douglas football team’s Twitter account shared thoughts and prayers for the fallen coach.
“He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories,” the Twitter account said.
On Wednesday afternoon, Feis responded to a call on one of the school’s radio. Someone said over the walkie-talkie that they heard firecrackers.
"I heard Aaron say, ‘No, that is not firecrackers.’ That’s the last I heard of him,” Douglas football coach Willis May told the Sun-Sentinel.
May praised Feis for his contributions on and off the field.5 comments on this story
“Big ol’ teddy bear,” May said of Feis. “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.”
In a similar story, senior David Hogg told KTRK that a janitor diverted students away from the shooting and hid them in a classroom.
"Without her, who knows how many of us would have died, ’cause we were easily 100 feet away from the freshman building," Hogg said, "and again, we thought this was a drill."