When Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Colton Haab heard semi-automatic gunfire ring out down his school halls, he knew he had to do something to protect his classmates. The 17-year-old Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) member immediately began to usher upwards of 70 fellow high schoolers into a JROTC classroom as bullets continued to whizz past them.
Then, he had an ingenious idea, remembering a stash of Kevlar sheets that were stacked in the room – the perfect material for armored protection against the gunman’s firepower. “We took those sheets, and we put them in front of everybody so they weren’t seen, because they were behind a solid object and the Kevlar would slow the bullet down,” Haab told CNN on Thursday.
“I didn’t think it was going to stop it, but it would definitely slow it down to make it from a catastrophic to a lifesaving thing,” the heroic youngster added.
The Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps students use the Kevlar sheets as a backdrop during their shooting practice. The material is commonly used to make bullet-proof vests. In the end, 19-year-old gunman Nikolas Cruz did not enter the JROTC room. Nevertheless, Haab and his friend had a plan in place if he did come storming in.
“I was a little scared. I was more worried about getting home safe, making sure everybody got home safe,” he told CNN. “God forbid, if he did come into the classroom. I didn’t want that to happen, but if it did, I would try to stop him with another friend of mine that was with us.”
Haab added: “We grabbed two pieces of two-by-four, a fire extinguisher and a chair,” Haab said. “We were going to try to stop him with whatever we had,” according to Reuters.
Haab also detailed that he saw heroic football coach Aaron Feis. “I saw him running toward the gunshots as they started to happen,” the student explained. “He was a very selfless man. He made sure that everybody else’s needs were met before his own.”
“He’s definitely in a better place now. I’m glad that he didn’t suffer that much. It’s sad because it’s not going to be the same without him at school anymore,” Haab added.
“We’re going to have to band together as brothers and pick up the pieces.”
Haab also detailed the past contact he had with shooter Nikolas Cruz.
“I didn’t know him personally. He was in my class. I did have marksmanship with him freshman year. He was very standoff-ish, never really spoke,” the student explained. “Kept to himself. Always threw a flag up that there could be something wrong, but never to the extent that he could do something like this.”