Florida shooting: Tributes paid to 'hero' teacher who died trying to protect students

Geography teacher Scott Beigel was shot after opening classroom to students seeking shelter, survivor says

Florida school student thanks Geography teacher who saved her

A teacher who died trying to protect students was among the 17 people killed at a Florida school shooting, a survivor has said.

Geography instructor Scott Beigel had unlocked the door to his classroom to try and let in students who were fleeing from a rampaging gunman, according to a student, but was shot down before he could close and re-lock the door.

As students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have begun processing the brutal aftermath, many are hailing Mr Beigel's sacrifice.

“Mr Beigel was my hero and he still will forever be my hero. I will never forget the actions that he took for me and for fellow students in the classroom,” student Kelsey Friend told CNN as she disintegrated into tears.

Ms Friend said she was “100 per cent certain” that the teacher saved her life.

“If his family is watching this,” Ms Friend said, “please know that your son or brother was an amazing person and I am alive today because of him”.

Powerful tributes flowed from people who had attended or worked at a summer camp where Mr Beigel worked as a counselor.

Students also shared their grief and their memories of Mr Beigel.

Survivors and school officials are also hailing a football coach, named Aaron Feis, who placed his body between students and the hail of bullets. His death was confirmed by the football team.

Suspected shooter Nikolas Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of murder. Authorities said Mr Cruz, who was carrying an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and multiple magazines, had been expelled from the high school for bad behaviour.

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