PARKLAND, Fla. — An assistant football coach has been the first victim identified in Wednesday’s shooting at a Florida high school.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s football program tweeted Thursday morning that Aaron Feis, who was also a security guard, was killed as 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 says.
Nikolas Cruz, described as a loner by a former classmate, had once been expelled from the Parkland, Florida, high school for disciplinary reasons.
On Wednesday, the 19-year-old former student returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and is suspected of gunning down at least 17 people, in a massacre that has now become one of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern US history.
Investigators believe that the suspect pulled the fire alarm to draw people out and get a higher death toll, according to a law enforcement source.
He is also believed to have concealed himself among the hundreds of students fleeing the school, according to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. Investigators were able to identify Cruz from school security videos and found him in a nearby neighborhood in Coral Springs, Florida, according to police.
Officers arrested him without incident. He is talking to investigators, according to a law enforcement source.