Vancouver artist Pia Guerra’s cartoon “Hero’s Welcome” shows Florida shooting victim Aaron Feis in this undated handout image. (Pia Guerra/Handout via the Canadian Press)

Vancouver artist’s cartoon of Florida school shooting resonates

Cartoon shows football coach, one of the victims, meeting others killed in school shootings

A Vancouver illustrator said she’s overwhelmed by the social media response to her cartoon depicting a victim of the recent school shooting in Florida.

Pia Guerra’s “Hero’s Welcome” shows a young girl leading the school’s football coach Aaron Feis by the hand to meet a crowd of other people killed in school shootings.

Feis was one of 17 victims who died when a former student opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday.

The assistant football coach and school security specialist was trying to shield students from bullets when he was fatally shot.

“It gave me a little lump in my throat when the idea (for the cartoon) first kind of popped up,” Guerra said.

“I thought, I think that might be strong enough. But I had no idea it was going to hit people this hard. Everyone’s telling me that it broke them or they’re devastated or they got all punched in the gut with it or they’re in tears. And that was surprising.”

“Hero’s Welcome” had been liked on Twitter more than 32,000 times by Saturday morning.

READ MORE: 17 dead, suspect identified in Florida school shooting

READ MORE: Trump refuses to address gun control following deadly Florida shooting

Guerra launched her career illustrating graphic novels, including DC/Vertigo’s Y – The Last Man with writer Brian K. Vaughan.

But her editorial cartoons are gaining attention too. Last year, her cartoon of a child-like U.S. president Donald Trump sitting on former White House strategist Steve Bannon’s lap and saying, “I’m a big boy,” also went viral.

“I’d just started getting into doing (editorial cartoons) out of a sense of needing to do something after the election,” Guerra said.

Former student Nikolas Cruz has been charged with 17 murders in the Florida shooting.

From the time he entered the building until the time he left, only six minutes passed, authorities said. During that brief time, he shot more than two dozen people.

Feis, 37, graduated from the school in 1999 and worked mainly with the junior varsity football team, the school’s website said. It said he lived in nearby Coral Springs with his wife and daughter.

Feis spent his entire coaching career at Marjory Stoneman after playing there as a student.

The Sun Sentinel reported that Feis, acting as a school security guard, responded to the original call on a school walkie-talkie. Someone on the radio asked if loud sounds they heard were firecrackers, said football coach Willis May, who also carries a radio.

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

Feis’ grandfather, Raymond Feis of New York, said his grandson “was wonderful.”

“Everyone loved him and he was a jolly person,” Raymond Feis said.

“What takes away some of the pain is that he was a hero.”

A tweet from the school football program ended: “He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories.”

— with files from the Associated Press

Amy Smart, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Letter: Extend large item garbage collection to Langley townhouses

A townhouse resident would like the same pick up option that’s given to single family dwellings.

Langley rep fastpitch squad goes 8-0 in White Rock tourney

The Fraser Valley Fusion 2006 rep A team took top honours in the Pride and Power Tournament.

Langley rally Saturday gives voice to Kinder Morgan pipeline supporters

Pro-pipeline speakers from Chilliwack confirmed for the Langley rally.

Crime Briefs: Langley Mounties seek suspects

Police are looking for a bank fraudster, among others.

Three arrested in Aldergrove stabbing

Downtown areas cordoned off with yellow crime scene tape, under police watch

VIDEO: AOK took Langley home and ‘made it amazing’

Volunteers did two weeks of repairs and retrofitting to make the Adam family house safe and livable.

B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

An eagle with a broken wing now in a recovery facility after RCMP rescue near Bella Coola

Get fit on Fitness Day

Township celebrates national Health and Fitness Day on June 2

Watoto Children’s Choir tour returns to Langley

Watoto Children’s Choir returns to Canada with ‘Signs & Wonders’ musical production

Bug spray 101: Health Canada wants you to stay bite free

Health Canada is reminding Canadians to use bug spray and other insect repellents safely

Unions reject CP Rail contract offers

Both meeting Friday to determine next steps; 72 hours notice required before strike action.

B.C. jewellers warn public about fake gold scam

‘They are playing on people’s sympathy and their greed’

Former B.C. premier says pot industry about to enter Wild West

Mike Harcourt says Canada is about to enter a new gold rush with many dreaming of striking it rich

Hunt continues for two suspects in Ontario restaurant explosion

The explosion left 15 people injured, but all victims have now been released from hospital

Most Read