PARKLAND, Fla. — With heavy hearts, the nation is remembering those heroes who saved others when a former student opened fire at a Florida high school on Wednesday, killing 17 people.
The morning after the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, we are learning about those sacrifices.
'He died a hero'
Football coach Aaron Feis threw himself in front of students as bullets hailed down at the school where he spent his entire career after graduating.
The assistant coach and security guard suffered a gunshot wound and later died after he was rushed into surgery, according to the school's football program and its spokeswoman, Denise Lehtio.
"He died the same way he lived -- he put himself second," Lehtio said. "He was a very kind soul, a very nice man. He died a hero.".
Colton Haab, a 17-year-old junior and football player who was close with Feis, said he heard the coach shielded three girls from gunfire.
"That's Coach Feis," Haab said, describing the educator as selfless, approachable and friendly.
"(He) made sure everyone else's needs were met before his own. He was a hard worker. He worked after school, on the weekends, mowing lawns, just helping as many people as possible," Haab said.
Haab last saw Feis Tuesday morning in a school hallway, he said. They talked "about normal stuff," like work and football.
Janitor and teachers usher students to safety
There was a school janitor who warned students not to go a certain way because the shooter was on the other side of the hall.
As a fire alarm blared, the janitor diverted senior David Hogg and other students away from the direction of the shooting, Hogg told CNN affiliate KTRK. A teacher then opened a classroom door so they could hide.
"Without her, who knows how many of us would have died, 'cause we were easily 100 feet away from the freshman building," Hogg said, "and again, we thought this was a drill."
Teacher Ashley Kurth took students into her classroom to hide. Teacher Melissa Falkowski hid with 19 students in the closet of her classroom.
"This is the worst nightmare that could ever happen to you," she said.