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Who was Marjory Stoneman Douglas? 13 things to know about Parkland high school’s namesake

When an accused teenage gunman opened fire on his former classmates last week, he wore a maroon polo shirt emblazoned with the logo of the school from which he’d been expelled -- Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The name Stoneman Douglas has become synonymous with the tragedy that ended with 17 people dead and the accused killer, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, charged with murdering them. But who was Marjory Stoneman Douglas?

Douglas, who died in 1998 at the age of 108, was a journalist and advocate of the women’s suffrage movement. She may be most well-known, however, for her efforts to save the Florida Everglades, which are not far from the school bearing her name.

>> Read more trending news

Below are some of the details from Douglas’ remarkable life.

  • Marjory Stoneman, who was born in 1890 in Minneapolis, showed a tendency for excellence early on. According to the National Park Service, she graduated with a 4.0 GPA from Wellesley College, where she was elected “class orator.”
  • Following a brief marriage to a man named Kenneth Douglas, she moved to Florida in 1915 to reunite with her father, Frank Stoneman, who she had not seen since she was a child. The first publisher of the Miami Herald, Stoneman hired his daughter as a society columnist. 
  • Moving through various duties at the Herald, Douglas established herself as a noteworthy writer, the National Park Service said. It was as a journalist that she embraced activism, fighting for feminism, racial justice and conservation of nature. 
  • It was around 1917 that Douglas took on a passionate role in advocating for the preservation of the Everglades. NPR reported that most people at the time considered the Everglades “a worthless swamp,” but Douglas disagreed. 
  • “We have all these natural beauties and resources,” Douglas said in a 1981 NPR interview, when she was 91 years old. “Among all the states, there isn’t another state like it. And our great problem is to keep them as they are in spite of the tremendous increase of population of people who don’t necessarily understand the nature of Florida.”
  • Douglas in 1947 published her book, “The Everglades: River of Grass,” described by the National Park Service as the “definitive description of the natural treasure she fought so hard to protect.” Later that year, she was an honored guest when President Harry Truman dedicated the Everglades National Park, according to the National Wildlife Federation.  
  • In the 1950s, Douglas railed against a major project of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a system of canals, levees, dams and pumping stations designed to protect marshland -- now used for agriculture and real estate -- from flooding. The National Park Service credits Douglas with fighting the destruction of the wetlands long before scientists realized the effects it would have on Florida’s ecosystem.
  • In 1969, she founded the nonprofit Friends of the Everglades, which continues to fight for the wetlands today. 
  • Co-author John Rothchild, in the introduction to Douglas’ autobiography, described watching her speak at a 1973 public meeting regarding a Corps of Engineers permit: “When she spoke, everybody stopped slapping (mosquitoes) and more or less came to order. She reminded us all of our responsibility to nature and I don’t remember what else. Her voice had the sobering effect of a one-room schoolmarm’s. The tone itself seemed to tame the rowdiest of the local stone crabbers, plus the developers and the lawyers on both sides. I wonder if it didn’t also intimidate the mosquitoes. The request for a Corps of Engineers permit was eventually turned down. This was no surprise to those of us who’d heard her speak.”
  • Douglas was inducted into the National Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Hall of Fame in 1999, and into the National Women’s Hall of Fame a year later
  • When discussing the issue of mankind and humans’ attitude toward nature, Douglas pulled no punches. “I’ll tell you, the whole thing is an enormous battle between man’s intelligence and his stupidity,” she told NPR. “And I’m not at all sure that stupidity isn’t going to win out in the long run.”
  • She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, by President Bill Clinton in 1993. She later donated the medal to Wellesley College. 
  • On the same day she received the medal from President Clinton, Douglas was invited to witness the signing of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, commonly called the Brady Bill, according to the Daily Beast. The bill, named for Jim Brady, the press secretary critically injured during the 1981 attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, established a federal background check for those wanting to purchase a firearm.

Cruz passed a background check in February 2017 when he legally bought the assault rifle used in last week’s massacre at Stoneman Douglas. 

VIDEO: Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz appears to practice with BB gun

Months before authorities said he walked into a Florida high school and killed 17 people, Nikolas Cruz was reportedly filmed shooting what appears to be a BB gun in his backyard.

>> See the video here

According to CNN, the video appears to show Cruz, the 19-year-old police say was behind Wednesday's deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, pointing a BB gun outside his house. The person in the video waves the replica weapon around, aims and shoots toward the fence surrounding the house.

>> VIDEO: Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz shown fighting students in 2016

The footage is thought to have been taken by a neighbor in October 2017.

>> Florida school shooting: Teacher of the year's emotional Facebook post goes viral

Cruz reportedly has a history of disturbing behaviorAccording to police reports obtained by CNN, Cruz was accused of being violent toward his late adoptive mother, who once told Broward County sheriff’s deputies that Cruz had expressed an interest in obtaining a gun and cut his arms "for attention." Classmates also said Cruz was abusive toward his ex-girlfriend, the New York Post reported.

>> Read more trending news 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation was previously alerted to Cruz and threats he allegedly made online, including one about wanting to carry out a school shooting.

Read more here.

VIDEO: Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz shown fighting students in 2016

The man allegedly behind the fatal Florida high school shooting apparently has a disturbing past that is coming to light. A school fight that was captured on camera a little more than a year ago is the latest development.

>> Click here to watch

Authorities said 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Cruz was formerly a member of the school’s JROTC program before being expelled.

>> Florida school shooting: Teacher of the year's emotional Facebook post goes viral

A September 2016 video shared by ABC News shows Cruz wearing a white shirt and khakis while fighting with other students. Cruz was reportedly handed a two-day suspension following the incident.

>> Family who took in Nikolas Cruz: 'We just didn't know'

According to ABC, the fight was one of five documented incidents that caused school administrators to expel Cruz, mandating his transfer to another high school in February 2017.

>> WATCH: Florida school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez slams politicians, NRA in emotional speech

Another incident that reportedly contributed to Cruz’s expulsion was his alleged fight with his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. Cruz was allegedly abusive toward her before they broke up.

>> Read more trending news 

The massacre at the high school marked the 25th U.S. school shooting in which someone was killed since the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School.

Florida school shooting: Teacher of the year's emotional Facebook post goes viral

An educator at Eustis Middle School in Florida, who was named teacher of the year last month, posted her reaction on social media to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead.

>> WATCH: Florida school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez slams politicians, NRA in emotional speech

Kelly Guthrie Raley’s response has been shared more than 600,000 times since she posted it on her Facebook page, with many more likes.

>> Florida sheriff to politicians who don't support gun control: 'You will not get re-elected'

Raley wrote that mental health issues, lack of available care for them, lack of discipline at home, lack of parental support for teacher discipline of their children, lack of moral values, promotion of violence through video games and the screaming on reality TV have created a culture where compassion is gone and the “permanency of death” is not understood by youths.

>> Read more trending news 

"Those 17 lives mattered," she wrote. "When are we going to take our own responsibility seriously?"

>> Read her full post here

Read more here.

Florida sheriff to politicians who don't support gun control: 'You will not get re-elected'

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel blasted politicians after a gunman killed 17 people at a Parkland, Florida, high school, saying that if gun laws don’t change, “you will not get re-elected in Broward County.”

>> WATCH: Florida school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez slams politicians, NRA in emotional speech

According to the Huffington Post, while speaking at a vigil in Parkland for the victims of the shooting, Israel said, “If you’re an elected official, and you want to keep things the way they are ― if you want to keep gun laws as they are now ― you will not get re-elected in Broward County.”

>> Click here to watch

The vigil was attended by thousands at an amphitheater that was lit by candles and had 17 4-foot angels – one for each of the victims who was killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

>> On 'Thoughts and prayers' check raises eyebrows on social media after the Florida shooting

Last week, Israel called on lawmakers to allow law enforcement officers to involuntarily detain people who post questionable and disturbing content on social media.

“We need to have the power to take that person and bring them before mental health professionals at that particular time, involuntarily, and have them examined,” he saidthe Huffington Post reported. “People are going to be rightfully concerned about their rights ― as am I. But what about these students? What about the rights of young kids who go to schools?”

>> PHOTOS: Remembering Parkland, Florida, school shooting victims

He added that he wishes law enforcement officials could act “if they see something on social media, if they see graphic pictures of rifles and blood and gore and guns and bombs, if they see something, horrific language, if they see a person talking about ‘I want to grow up to be a serial killer.’”

Democrats in Congress are already calling for gun control while Republicans are saying that it’s too soon to talk about it.

>> Classmate of Nikolas Cruz: ‘No one has ever been a friend to him’

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said during a press conference Thursday that we need to think less about fighting “each other politically” in the wake of the shooting.

“This is one of those moments where we just need to step back and count our blessings,” he said Thursday at a news conference, according to CNN. “We need to think less about taking sides and fighting each other politically, and just pulling together. This House, and the whole country, stands with the Parkland community.”

>> Florida school shooting timeline: Seven minutes, three floors and 17 dead

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., tweeted that Congress should vote on measures to implement “universal background checks, a ban on military-style weapons and a prohibition of those on the terror watchlist from purchasing firearms.”

>> Read more trending news 

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, said Congress will have “another round” of this debate, but admitted that it’s hard to get any sort of gun legislation passed.

Read more here.

Florida shooting heroes: 3 coaches, teachers gave lives for students

The athletic department at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School lost a big chunk of its coaching staff -- and an even bigger chunk of its heart -- during the Valentine’s Day shooting that claimed the lives of its athletic director, cross country coach and assistant football coach, in addition to 14 students.

All three men, Chris Hixon, Scott Beigel and Aaron Feis, have been hailed as heroes for shielding and protecting students during Wednesday’s mass shooting. The accused shooter, former student Nikolas Cruz, is charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. 

>> Read more trending news

Aaron Feis

Feis, 37, of Coral Springs, was one of the first victims publicly named in the aftermath of the massacre. The school’s football department announced the assistant coach and security guard’s death on social media.

“He selflessly shielded students from the shooter when he was shot,” the announcement read. “He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories.”

The Palm Beach Post reported that Feis was shot after throwing himself between students and the gunman. He died in surgery later that night.

Willis May, the school’s head football coach, said that he heard Feis respond via walkie-talkie to the original call reporting the shooting, in which someone asked if the loud noises they heard were firecrackers.

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

Feis appeared to be familiar with guns. His Facebook page, which has been turned into a memorial to him, depicts him as a gun enthusiast.

He once shared a news story about an Oklahoma school district that sought to deter gun violence by allowing some school administrators to carry guns on campus, and by posting signs warning the public of that fact.  

In 2016, he also posted a Duck Dynasty-themed image that stated, “America doesn’t have a gun problem -- it has a sin and self-control problem.” 

Feis also expressed pride in his position as a football coach.

“A coach will impact more young people in a year than the average person does in a lifetime,” one image read. 

May described Feis as just such a leader, according to the Washington Post. The head coach called Feis a “hardcore” coach who loved working with the players. 

He also described him as loyal and trustworthy.

“He had my back,” May said, according to the Post. “He worked hard. Just a good man. Loved his family. Loved his brother. Just an excellent family man.”

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel also praised Feis, who he knew personally.

“I coached with him. My two boys played for him,” Israel said during a Thursday news conference, according to NBC News. “I don’t know how many adults will go, but you’ll get 2,000 kids there. The kids in this community loved him. They adored him. He was one of the greatest people I knew. He was a phenomenal man.”

Feis, who also played football at Douglas as a student, returned to his alma mater as a coach three years after his 1999 graduation, according to his bio on the school’s athletics page. He spent his entire coaching career there.

A GoFundMe page honoring Feis was created Thursday and, in less than 24 hours, had raised more than $76,000 of the $100,000 goal. The cash will go to his family.

Feis is survived by his wife, Melissa, and their daughter, Arielle. 

Chris Hixon

Like Feis, Hixon rushed toward the gunfire instead of away from it when the gunman started shooting. The 49-year-old athletic director, who lived in Hollywood, also filled in as volleyball coach and served as a security monitor when needed.

It was that security role that likely put him in the line of fire, friend and former colleague Dianne Sanzari told the Associated Press

“While he was a security monitor, he did the very best he could to also serve in that athletic administrator role,” Sanzari told the news station. “He loved his family; he loved his job. Chris was just amazing.”

Hixon, who also served as the school’s wrestling coach, pitched in wherever he could, according to those who knew him. His dedication led to him being named the Broward County Athletic Association’s Athletic Director of the Year in 2017. 

A Naval reservist, Hixon was also deployed to Iraq about a decade ago. 

“He loved being an American and serving his country, and he instilled that in our kids,” his widow, Debra Hixon, told CNN

She said he also loved giving back to the community, particularly when it came to his students. He gave students rides or lunch money when needed, and would open up his family’s home to them.

“Every one of those students, he thought of as his own kid,” Debra Hixon said

Besides his wife, Hixon leaves behind his own two children, including a son with Down syndrome, ABC News reported

“Chris is probably the nicest guy I have ever met,” Coral Springs High School Athletic Director Dan Jacob told ABC News. “He put the needs of everyone else before his own.”

Similar sentiments could be found on Debra Hixon’s Facebook page, where she wished her friends a Happy Valentine’s Day just hours before her husband was slain. 

“Hope everyone has a warm and fuzzy day!” she wrote. 

Instead of returned warm wishes, the comments on her post are comprised of condolences from friends and strangers alike.

“Debbi, Chris was one of the best people I ever had the pleasure to work with,” one woman wrote. “My heart goes out to you and your family. MSD, the Broward school board and, indeed, the world, are all dimmer -- LESS -- today. My heart aches for you.”

Since the shooting, Debra Hixon has posted several videos and images pleading for reform to the United States’ gun laws. One image shows a rifle used by the Founding Fathers, which fired one or two bullets per minute.

It also showed an AR-15, which authorities said is the model of assault rifle Cruz used in Wednesday’s shooting. It fires 45 rounds per minute, the graphic states. 

“Times have changed. Guns have changed,” the image reads. “Our gun laws should change with them.”

Scott Beigel

Beigel, 35, was killed as he ushered students into the safety of the classroom where he taught, the Palm Beach Post reported. Besides teaching geography, he also served as Stoneman Douglas’ cross-country coach. 

Beigel had locked the door of his classroom when the “Code Red” alert was sounded, but when he realized more students were outside his door, he acted quickly.

“(He) unlocked the door and let us in,” student Kelsey Friend told “Good Morning America.” “I thought he was behind me, but he wasn’t. When he opened the door, he had to relock it so we could stay safe, but he didn’t have a chance to.”

Instead, he blocked the door with his body, another student, Bruna Oliveda, said. 

“I don’t know how we’re alive,” Oliveda said, according to NBC News.

Friend told CNN in an interview that Beigel will forever be her hero. 

“I’ll never forget the actions he took for me and for fellow students in the classroom,” Friend said. “He was an amazing person, and I am alive today because of him.”

Students and members of Beigel’s cross-country team mourned him on social media. 

“I have said RIP (Rest in Peace) too many times in the past 24 hours, but RIP Coach Beagle (sic),” student Chad Williams tweeted. “You are a king and heaven got a good one. Rest easy.”

Beigel, a native of Long Island, was also mourned by fellow counselors and former campers at Camp Starlight, a summer camp for children located in Starlight, Pennsylvania. Beigel served on the staff each year. 

“The Starlight family is wrapping their arms around each other today, singing from our hearts to Starlight’s beloved friend and hero, Scott Beigel,” read a post on the camp’s Facebook page. “May every road rise up to meet your feet, and may the wind be at your back. May good friends supply every lack, until once more as friends we meet. Shalom, shalom.”

Former camper Sydney Reibman described Beigel as one of the most amazing people she’d ever met. 

“He truly did touch the lives of every person who stepped onto camp,” Reibman wrote on Facebook. “From making me laugh just by looking at me, or making a sarcastic comment (which I could never tell if he was actually kidding or not), to giving me tough love when I needed it, he knew how to make every situation fun and turn everything into something positive.

“My summers at camp never would have been the same without him.”

Matthew Perlman, who shared video of Kelsey Friend’s interview about Beigel’s heroism, wrote that Beigel had been his role model since his first summer at camp.

“Thank you for all the laughs and joy you brought into the world,” Perlman wrote. “It’s times like these where we need to love a little more and cherish the time we have together. Through the tears, our memories cling and surround you. Sending love to my entire Starlight family.”

Lindsay Jennings called Beigel’s death a loss for everyone who knew him.

“But I know, like myself, that not one of you is surprised that our Scott stood in harm’s way for his students. Of course he did,” Jennings wrote. “Scott took ownership personally (of) each group of kids I watched him work with. 

“He was one of the funniest and wittiest people I have ever come across, and Starlight wouldn’t have been the same without him for any of us.”

Florida school shooting: Family says missing girl Meadow Pollack has died

Update 1:21 p.m. Feb. 15, 2018: Meadow Pollack, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who went missing after Wednesday’s shooting, has died, her father, Andrew Pollack, said Thursday morning.

Original report: Andrew Pollack stood outside the hospital Wednesday afternoon with a firm grip on his cellphone, anxiously waiting to hear the words “we found her.”

>> Live updates: 17 dead, more than a dozen injured in shooting rampage at Parkland, Florida high school

Pollack and his wife were searching for their daughter Meadow, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. They called her phone so many times Wednesday only to hear it ring and ring and ring.

“We can’t locate her. I keep looking at my phone,” Pollack said outside Broward Health North hospital. “I don’t know where to go from here.”

>> On Parents, students describe mayhem, aftermath

Pollack rattled off details about his 18-year-old — she plans to go to Lynn University for college. He showed a Palm Beach Post reporter a photo of her wearing a dark, strapless dress and a smile while standing next to her cousin.

As of 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, he still hadn’t heard.

About a couple hundred feet from where Pollack stood, two doctors gave an update to reporters on the nine patients brought to the hospital after a gunman opened fire at the high school. The doctors said Wednesday marked the biggest mass casualty incident the hospital has seen.

>> Florida school shooting: Football coach shot, killed while protecting students hailed as hero

One of the hospitals’ nine patients was suspected shooter Nikolas Cruz, 19. The doctors — Evan Boyar and Igor Nichiporenko — said he was released to police custody and did not detail his injuries. They said authorities took him to Broward North because it was the closest trauma facility.

“Every patient that comes in gets treated as a patient,” said Boyar, director of the emergency medicine department.

Another shooting victim was taken to Broward Health Coral Springs and seven others were taken to Broward Health Medical Center. Doctors at Broward North couldn’t give updates on those patients’ conditions.

>> PHOTOS: Shooting at high school in Parkland, Florida

Of the eight at Broward North, two died, three were in stable condition and three were in critical, the doctors said. At the time of the news conference, three were in operating rooms.

Nichiporenko said none of the six at Broward North were expected to be released from the hospital Wednesday evening, but gave a positive outlook on their conditions: “They’re going to have successful surgeries. They’re going to recover. They’re going to go home.”

The doctors declined to give details about the patients, including their names, ages or exact injuries, but said they all received gunshot wounds.

“I prefer not to comment on specific patients’ demeanor, but you know as a human being you can imagine that they would be in shock or you know be emotional about the whole situation,” Boyar said.

>> Read more trending news 

The doctors said they send their sympathy and condolences to all involved in the shooting. They said the hospital was ready for a day like this and often runs drills to make sure if a day like this does come the patients receive “calm, collected care.”

“We do this every day. So what we saw today, we have penetrating trauma, non-penetrating trauma. We’re a Level 2 trauma center and that’s what we do everyday,” said Nichiporenko, the trauma medical director. “So fortunately for everybody we are located very close to the high school where the shooting happened, so fortunately for everybody they brought these patients to our hospital and we were able to do a great job to do the right thing.”

Florida school shooting: Probe focuses on gunman's motives, victims' lives

Law enforcement officials are scheduled to give an update of their investigation into a deadly school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead.

The update is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Thursday near the school in Parkland, Florida, an affluent town in northwest Broward County, about 15 miles from Boca Raton.

>> LIVE UPDATES: Florida school shooting suspect charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder

The suspected gunman, Nikolas Jacob Cruz, 19, had been a student there recently “but was expelled from the school the previous year,” the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said.

Cruz was booked into the Broward County jail and is facing 17 counts of premeditated murder. 

At 5-foot-7 and 131 pounds, he was expected to make his first appearance before a judge later Thursday morning in Broward County court.

>> Florida school shooting: Football coach shot, killed while protecting students hailed as hero

Police said Cruz concealed himself in the crowd and was among those running out of the school after the shooting. He was captured about 2 miles away near a swimming pool in the Wyndham Lakes community across the Sawgrass Expressway from the school.

Individuals with information are encouraged to call the FBI tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI or visit

>> PHOTOS: Shooting at high school in Parkland, Florida

A day after 17 people lost their lives in a storm of bullets at a South Florida high school, police are still trying to piece together what happened. 

The investigation of the high school massacre on Valentine’s Day stretches throughout the state, including one city in Palm Beach County. 

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office; the Broward County Sheriff’s Office; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and FBI are investigating a mobile home south of Lantana Road and off Congress Avenue. 

>> Read more trending news 

Irving Beck, who lives in Lantana Cascade Mobile Home Park, said he got home around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday and law enforcement was already at the scene. 

He said authorities told him it was some kind of explosive at one of the residences.

Florida school shooting: Students describe terror, panic during rampage

Flashing lights and police tape still blocked the area surrounding Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, hours after investigators said a gunman opened fire, killing 17 people.

>> LIVE UPDATES: 17 dead, more than a dozen injured in shooting rampage at Parkland, Florida, high school

In a student’s Snapchat video, the sound of gunfire can be heard inside a classroom as students cried and crouched under their desks.

“I was just praying. Praying to God it was not me,” said Trayvon Telfair, a sophomore at the school.

>> Florida school shooting: Football coach shot while protecting students hailed as hero

Telfair said he was in the freshman building and was feet away from the gunfire.

"One of the bullets came through the window and I just looked and everybody was in the room screaming. The teacher was telling them to be quiet," he said.

He was one of the dozens of students led out of the building by armed officers as they walked out with their hands above their heads.

Panic ensued as the school was put on lockdown.

Some students were led to safety, but other students had to remain barricaded in classrooms until police could reach them.

>> PHOTOS: Shooting at high school in Parkland, Florida

One student described waiting near the body of a teacher who had been shot.

“We saw his body for like 30 minutes. We were just praying and crying, and then the police came and we just got out,” said student Bruna Oliveda.

As students ran from the school, they described the chaos inside.

“We heard the pops and we were in the building at the back of the school,” said a student, who was not identified.

As students were led out of the school, some were told to keep their hands on the shoulders of the students in front of them and not to look to the side.

They were told to put their backpacks in a pile and move away.

Student Christina Vega said she never wants to step on campus again.

“I can’t go up the stairs. There were just trails of blood,” she said. “Our teacher, right in the corner, you can just see the bullet and like, blood on the wall. And then this kid on the other side."

The Broward County Sheriff's Office said the 17 victims include students and adults.

Investigators said the suspected gunman is former student 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz.

He was taken into custody about 2 miles from the school.

>> On WATCH: Takedown of Stoneman Douglas HS suspect

School officials said Cruz had been expelled from the school for disciplinary reasons.

Investigators said Cruz had at least one rifle and numerous magazines of ammunition.

There is no known motive for the shooting.

School was canceled for the remainder of the week and multiple grief counselors will be available, officials said.

>> Read more trending news 

Florida Gov. Rick Scott told reporters Wednesday evening he can't imagine what the families of the victims are going through. He also said he would be visiting hospitalized survivors.

Sheriff Scott Israel of Broward County also said at the news conference that families of the dead are being notified. He said 12 of the dead have been identified. He says not all victims were carrying identification and thus couldn't be quickly identified.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says the state will cover funeral expenses for the victims and counseling for survivors.

Florida school shooting: Football coach shot, killed while protecting students hailed as hero

UPDATE, 5:19 a.m. EST Thursday: Aaron Feis, an assistant football coach and security guard at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, has died after being wounded in a deadly mass shooting Wednesday, the team tweeted early Thursday.

“It is with great sadness that our football family has learned about the death of Aaron Feis,” the team wrote. “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.”

>> See the tweet here

ORIGINAL STORY: An assistant football coach reportedly was shot while protecting students during a deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Aaron Feis is being celebrated as a hero, according to the Miami Herald, citing tributes to the coach and reports on social media.

>> MORE: Live updatesPhoto gallery | Who is Nikolas Cruz?

Seventeen were killed and many more were injured in Wednesday's shooting. A gunman, whom police identified as 19-year-old former student Nikolas De Jesus Cruz, opened fire on students in the afternoon.

When the shooting started, Feis – a school security guard, as well – reportedly stepped between the shooter and students, taking bullets in the act. He was reportedly hospitalized in critical condition.

Douglas football player Charlie Rothkopf tweeted that his coach “took [several] bullets covering other students at Douglas.”

The Miami Herald reported that Feis is a 1999 graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

>> Read more trending news 

“He is a friend to all students that know him,” wrote Angelica Losada, who identified herself as a former student at the school. “Please, take a moment to send healing prayers for him.”

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said “a football coach” had died in the shooting. It is not clear if Israel was referring to Feis.

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