A gunman senselessly took the lives of 17 individuals at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday. But had it not been for the heroic actions of assistant football coach Aaron Feis or cross-country coach Scott Beigel, that number might have been even higher.
Head football coach Willis May told the Sun-Sentinel that, according to a student, Feis, who was also a campus security guard, jumped between the shooter and a student, pushing her out of the way and getting shot in the process.
The Twitter account for the school’s football program indicated he “selflessly shielded students from the shooter.”
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
Can everyone please take a second to pray for my coach today he took serval bullets covering other students at Douglas . pic.twitter.com/8AMG7t6tpH
— Charlie Rothkopf (@RothkopfCharlie) February 14, 2018
“He was a great guy,” said Gage Gaynor, a sophomore lineman. “Everyone loved him.”
According to student Kelsey Friend, Beigel, also a geography teacher, let her and other students into his classroom to hide them from the shooter. But after the students made it inside, he was shot.
“I walked up to my teacher, Mr. Beigel, and I said, ‘I’m scared, I don’t know what’s going on.’ Then he unlocked the door, I ran in, and unfortunately he did not run in with me,” Friend told CNN. “He was my hero, and he will forever be my hero. I’ll never forget the actions he took for me and for fellow students in the classroom. He was an amazing person, and I am alive today because of him.
— Chad Williams (@chad_williams05) February 15, 2018
Friend said she felt “lucky to be alive.”
“Having it happen at your favorite school. With your favorite teacher on the floor. And my mom texting me. And my friends crying. It’s the hardest thing in the world.”