An Iowa principal who was hailed a hero after risking himself to save his students has died.
Principal Dan Marburger passed away Jan. 14, 10 days after a 17-year-old gunman entered Perry High School in Perry, Iowa, killing a sixth grader and injuring seven others, CNN reported.
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“Although the news has not fully set in yet, Dan Marburger gave the ultimate sacrifice,” a statement on a GoFundMe page created to benefit Marburger’s family read. “After 10 days, he lost his battle, and this tragedy took his life.”
The statement went on to note that the family will face the “unfathomable” situation in the days, weeks, and years to come and praised the principal’s selfless acts. Those deeds included taking steps to try and protect students when the gunman entered the school earlier this month.
“Dan endured significant injuries in the tragic events at Perry High School on Thursday, January 4, putting himself in harm’s way to ensure as many students and staff could safely exit the building,” the statement read.
Such bravery and kindness are said to have been in Marburger’s character, as his own daughter noted she immediately believed her father would be a victim when she learned of the shooting due to his penchant for helping others.
“As I heard of a gunman, I instantly had a feeling my Dad would be a victim as he would put himself in harm’s way for the benefit of the kids and his staff,” Claire Marburger said of her dad in a Jan. 4 Facebook message. “It is absolutely zero surprise to hear he tried to approach and talk [the shooter] down and distract him long enough for some students to get out of the cafeteria. That’s just Dad.”
Praise for Marburger came from authorities and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), who issued a statement expressing the devastation the entire state faced after hearing of his passing.
She also ordered all state flags to be half-staffed in remembrance.
“Dan courageously put himself in harm’s way to protect his students, and ultimately gave his own life to save them,” Reynolds said. “He will forever be remembered for his selfless and heroic actions. May he rest in peace.”
The Perry Community School District, where Marburger had long worked, called the principal a “tremendous leader” and expressed sympathy for his family and internal grief.
“Our school community is heartbroken by Dan’s death,” a statement read. “For nearly three decades, Dan was ingrained in every aspect of our Perry Community School District environment, and we are feeling the immense loss of a devoted and caring colleague.”
During this difficult time, please pray for Marburger’s family, friends, students, and school community.
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