Football coach died saving students in Florida high school shooting
Yesterday a teenager armed with a semi-automatic rifle opened fire on campus at a high school in Florida. He killed at least 17 people and wounded 14 others, sending hundreds of students fleeing into the streets. The massacre is the tenth deadliest mass shooting in United States history.
Students have described the scene inside the school as a war zone. As the gunfire erupted, they fled for safety, and several brave faculty members tried to protect the children. One teacher, Melissa Falkowski, hid 19 students in a closet, where they cried or sent text messages on their phones, terrified to speak in case the killer might hear them. She made it out alive, but football coach Aaron Feis wasn't so lucky. He died protecting the students, shielding them from the gunman, Nikolas Cruz.
Feis worked as a football coach and security guard at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, his alma matter. The survivors report that when Cruz began his rampage, Feis jumped in front of students to protect them, taking several bullets. He later died from one of those wounds after being rushed into surgery. "He died the same way he lived -- he put himself second," said the school's football program spokeswoman Denise Lehtio. "He was a very kind soul, a very nice man. He died a hero."
Haab says that the last time he saw Feis was in the school hallway, where they talked "about normal stuff," like football and work. While the coaches presence on campus will be sorely missed, he hopes that the selfless educator is in a better place. "I'm glad he didn't suffer that much," said Haab. "It's sad because it's not going to be the same without him at school anymore, that's for sure. Football definitely won't be the same. We're definitely going to have to band back together as brothers and mourn his loss and pick up the pieces to try to rebuild our football team."
Police apprehended 19-year-old gunman Nikolas Cruz, who is a former student at the high school. His old classmates and teaches have described him as a "troubled kid," obsessed with guns. One student said they used to even joke around that one day he would shoot up the school. Recently Cruz' disturbing Instagram history was revealed, with photos of him brandishing dozens of deadly weapons. He often threatened to kill people with his guns in YouTube comments.
It's only February, and the tragedy in Florida is already the United States' 18th school shooting of 2018. That averages one school shooting every 60 hours. But as deadly as this event was, it could have been even deadlier with the the brave actions of people like football coach Aaron Feis. He will be missed.