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ESPYs Honor 3 Hero Coaches Who Died Saving Students In Stoneman Douglas School Shooting

By Fitzgerald Cecilio
on Jul 20, 2018 09:00 AM EDT
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The three coaches who sacrificed their lives saving Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students during Feb. 14's deadly shooting were given the Best Coach Award at the 2018 ESPYs.

Scott Beigel, Aaron Feis, and Chris Hixon saved several lives during the shooting that was perpetrated by a 19-year-old former student. Around 17 people died in the shooting, but the heroics of the three coaches prevented the shooter from claiming more lives.

The Best Coach Award was usually given to a mentor for their work on the field. However, ESPN veered away from tradition and gave the award to the three coaches.

Action Against Gun Violence Pushed

"Scott, Aaron and Chris were heroes and they were coaches. But they were also husbands, fathers and sons," says MSD coach Elliott Bonner, who received the award on behalf of Beigel, Feis, and Hixon.

"The issue of gun violence and what happened at our school isn't a political issue. It's a human issue," Bonner added. "Lives were lost that didn't have to be."

Bonner added that the tragedy should lead to more talks and a deeper understanding among students, educators, parents, and officials. Also, he's hoping that it will lead to safer schools all across America.

"The issue of gun violence and what happened at our school isn't a political issue. It's a human issue," Bonner added. 

Relatives of the three coaches were also on hand to receive the award. They received a warm standing ovation from the audience while a memorial was played for the three heroes.

In a video presentation, narrator Connie Britton said "heroes walked these halls. Remember that as much as anything else when you think about that fateful day" in recognition of their bravery and heroics.

Feis Used Body As Shield To Save Students

The 37-year-old Feis, who worked as assistant football coach, ran after the alleged gunman. He died while using his body to shield students from the gunfire. Beigel, for his part, died while holding the door open for students to escape as the suspect, a certain Nikolas Cruz, fired his AR-15 style weapon.

According to Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, the shooting happened around dismissal time. The suspect is a former student who got expelled for disciplinary reasons. The suspect was caught and released to police custody.

The school is located in Parkland, a Fort Lauderdale suburb of about 30,000 people. The school has 3,208 students, per the Broward County Public Schools website.

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