Stoneman Douglas football coach ‘died a hero’ protecting students during shooting
BY JORDAN MCPHERSON, MANNY NAVARRO AND LINDA ROBERTSON 2-15-2018
In the midst of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday that left 17 people dead and at least 15 injured, a football coach will be remembered for his heroism in a time of chaos.
Aaron Feis, 37, an assistant football coach and security guard at the high school, died Wednesday night after being critically injured after jumping in front of shooter Nikolas Cruz to protect students.
“All my kids thought the world of him,” Douglas head football coach Willis May said. “All the graduates that played for us and even the students, man. They’d go on and on about how good he was to them and how he always had a smile for everybody. It’s sad.”
The school announced the news on its Twitter account early Thursday morning.
“He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories,” the post reads.
Athletic director Chris Hixon also died in the shooting, May said.
“I was close to him,” May said. “When he likes you and trusts you, you become friends. We were to that point where we were being able to trust each other. We had each other’s back. He’s a good person. He’s good to people.”
Feis was a 1999 graduate of Douglas and was devoted to his alma mater.
May said he was with Feis’ family members when they got the news that Feis had died from his injuries. He said Feis is survived by his wife, Melissa, and a young daughter.
May said football players told him that Feis had shielded students and pushed them out of the way of Cruz, who police say entered his former high school around dismissal time Wednesday and began shooting people with an AR-15 rifle.
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