Assistant football coach Aaron Feis has died of his injuries after he threw himself in front of students on Wednesday while his alma mater, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was under attack. The family of Aaron, who also served as a security guard at the school, was notified of his death late Wednesday or early Thursday morning.

Head football coach Willis May told the Sun Sentinal he heard from a student that Aaron “jumped between her and the shooter to push her out through a door and out of the line of fire.” He added that Aaron responded to the original call on the school’s security radio walkie-talkies. Someone on the radio asked if the loud sounds heard were firecrackers. “I heard Aaron say, ‘No, that is not firecrackers.’ That’s the last I heard of him.”

Reported shooter Nikolas Cruz, 19, opened fire on students and staff inside the high school in Parkland, FL, leaving 17 dead and 50 injured, making it one of the top 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern US history. “It is with Great sadness that our Football Family has learned about the death of Aaron Feis,” the Douglas football team’s Twitter account posted on Feb. 15. “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.”

Aaron played center for the high school from 1995 to 1998 and graduated in 1999. He coached linemen for the Douglas football team and served as the school’s JV football coach for eight years, according to his bio on the football team’s website. Aaron was also the team’s college recruiting coordinator and helped in football operations.

aaron feis football facebook

“Big ol’ teddy bear,” Willis said of Aaron. “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.”

School spokeswoman, Denise Lehtio agreed. “He died the same way he lived — he put himself second. He was a very kind soul, a very nice man. He died a hero.” Aaron is survived by his wife, Melissa, and baby daughter, Arielle.

To help prevent gun violence and save lives, you can donate to the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund here.

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