There was optimism that one of the early heroes from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) mass shooting in South Florida might survive the deadly attack despite injuries suffered while reportedly shielding students. That hope has now reportedly been extinguished.
According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, MSD football coach Willis May was informed that the family of his assistant coach Aaron Feis was informed in the early hours of Thursday morning that the longtime football coach had died. Reports of his heroism emerged on Wednesday evening after students recounted the security guard’s willingness to step in front of students to protect them from the shooter.
Around 3 a.m. Thursday the MSD football program’s Twitter account posted the following confirmation of Feis’ death:
According to the Sun-Sentinel, the last words Willis heard from his assistant — whom he called a “big ol’ teddy bear” — were typical of the dutiful commitment with which he approached his role in the school.
Feis, in his capacity as a school security guard, responded to the original call on the school’s security radio walkie-talkies. Someone asked on the radio if the loud sounds heard were firecrackers, according to May, who also carries a radio.
“I heard Aaron say, ‘No, that is not firecrackers.’ That’s the last I heard of him,” May said.
Feis, who coached the team’s offensive lineman and also led the junior varsity program, was remembered on social media and in the press by a number of his former players.
“He was a great guy,” MSD sophomore lineman Gage Gaynor told the Sun-Sentinel. “Everyone loved him. Shame he had to go like this. Always gave his all to making us better. Definitely learned a lot from him.”