‘I’m so thankful’

Student says heroic teacher died saving her life and those of others during Florida school shooting

Kelsey Friend (YouTube / ABC News)

A girl who survived the horrific school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left at least 17 dead and more than a dozen wounded, has said that her teacher gave up his life in order to save her life and the lives of other students as they fled alleged school shooter Nikolas Cruz. Kelsey Friend said that geography teacher Scott Beigel, 35, unlocked the door to his classroom to let her and other students in after what many thought was a fire drill turned out to be a large-scale massacre. Cruz, it has been reported, had pulled the fire alarm so that he could shoot at students and teachers as they came down the stairwell.

“When he opened the door he had to re-lock so we could stay safe but he didn’t get the chance,” Friend, fighting back tears, told ABC News. “I’m so thankful that he was there to help everybody who did live in that classroom.”

“I am alive today because of him,” she told CNN, in a message meant for his family. “Thank you for bringing and having this amazing person in life and giving him the power to be stronger than I could have ever been.”

His body, she added, helped hide the sight of her and other students from the shooter as he went by the classroom. Two other teachers, including athletic director Chris Hixon and football coach Aaron Feiss, also gave up their lives to save students. Feiss, 37, reportedly threw himself on top of students and was shot multiple times as he shielded them with his own body.

“He died the same way he lived — he put himself second. He was a very kind soul, a very nice man. He died a hero,” said school spokesman Denise Lehtio.

Senior David Hogg also credited an unidentified female janitor for saving his life, and those of “easily 40 others,” when she stopped students from heading towards the shooter after the fire alarm was pulled.

Watch ABC News’ interview with Friend below. And for more on the stories of those who were killed in the attack, click here.

Read the full story at The Daily Mail.

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