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Football coach dies after throwing himself in front of students to protect them from flying bullets

Image source: TheBlaze

Assistant football coach Aaron Feis died Thursday morning after reportedly risking his life to protect the young students he shielded from gunfire during Wednesday's fatal Florida school shooting.

What are the details?

Initial reports indicated that Feis used his body to shield students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, from suspect Nikolas Cruz's gunfire.

In addition to serving as football coach at the school, Feis was a security guard at the school.

A Twitter account for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School football reported Feis' passing on Thursday.

"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," the tweet read.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, Feis, a 1999 graduate of the high school, left behind a wife and a daughter.

Just hours after the shooting, an Instagram post went viral, telling of Feis' heroism during the heinous act.

The post, a photo of Feis, was captioned, "This, ladies and gentlemen, [is] the face of a hero. Coach Aaron Feis was injured protecting a student in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and, at last report, is in critical condition. He is a friend to all students that know him. He was always so nice to me when I went to school there, and I know he is close with my brother and his friends. Please, take a moment to send healing prayers for him."

What are others saying about Feis?

Andrew Hofmann, a former student at the school, told the Miami Herald that Feis was a "quiet person" who had a good sense of humor.

"He’s very well dedicated to the safety of the school during the daytime," Hofmann said.

Denise Lehtio, spokesperson for the school's football program, on Thursday said that Feis "died the same way he lived: he put himself second."

"He was a very kind soul, a very nice man. He died a hero," Lehtio said.

Willis May, the football team's head coach, told the Sun-Sentinel that Feis responded to the original radio call about the shooting when it first began.

May said that someone on a radio asked if the loud sounds were firecrackers.

"I heard Aaron say, 'No, that is not firecrackers.' That’s the last I heard of him," May said.

Lauding Feis' character, May added that Feis was a "big ol' teddy bear."

"Hardcore – he coached hard," May said of Feis. "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."

Colton Haab, a student at the school, told CNN that Feis was a "selfless" man, with whom he had a close relationship.

"I saw him running toward the gunshots as soon as they started to happen," Haab said.

"He's a very selfless man. He ... made sure that everybody's needs were met before his own," Haab added. "He was a hard worker, he worked after school, on the weekends, mowing lawns. Just helping as many people out as possible."

"He just wants to make sure everybody's safe before himself," Haab said. "It's sad because it's not going to be the same without him at school anymore."

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