PARKLAND, Fla. - An assistant football coach with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School died shielding students from bullets during the shooting rampage in Parkland, Florida, the school's team announced in a tweet.
According to witnesses, Aaron Feis was shot and killed protecting people from the gunfire on Wednesday afternoon. Head coach Willis May confirmed the news Thursday to news station WPLG.
"It is with great sadness that our football family has learned about the death of Aaron Feis. 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 he in our hearts and memories,” the tweet said.
It is with Great sadness that our Football Family has learned about the death of Aaron Feis. 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 pic.twitter.com/O181FvuHl3 — MS Douglas Football (@MSDEagles) February 15, 2018
Authorities say 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz equipped with a gas mask, smoke grenades and multiple magazines of ammunition, opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon, killing 17 people and sending hundreds of students fleeing into the streets.
Investigators identified Cruz from school security videos before arresting him in Coral Springs, according to police.His first court appearance was expected Thursday afternoon.
.@browardsheriff w/powerful, emotional words about #AaronFeis, the football coach who died shielding students: "2,000 kids will be (at funeral) Kids in community loved, adored him. Aaron died protecting others, that's who he was." Full comment below ⬇️ #KSATnews #Florida pic.twitter.com/rekJKpNrHV — RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) February 15, 2018
It was the nation’s deadliest school shooting since a gunman attacked an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, more than five years ago. The overall death toll differs by how such shootings are defined, but Everytown For Gun Safety has tallied 290 school shootings in America since 2013, and the attack makes 18 so far this year.
"Our district is in a tremendous state of grief and sorrow," said Robert Runcie, superintendent of the school district in Parkland, about an hour's drive north of Miami. "It is a horrible day for us."
As we rise this morning let us pray for the victims and families of this horrific tragedy that has fallen on our community. Let us find the courage to transcend fear, greed, hatred & divisions and collaborate to achieve a new level of consciousness to find real solutions ... pic.twitter.com/lT8vRSlEgm — Supt Runcie (@RobertwRuncie) February 15, 2018
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