Broward County

Parkland teen hailed as 'the real Iron Man' for shielding classmates. He shook his head.

Anthony Borges (left) with his parents in a GoFundMe photo.
Anthony Borges (left) with his parents in a GoFundMe photo. El Nuevo Herald File

Anthony Borges, the 15-year-old Parkland student who has been credited with saving some 20 lives during the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, doesn't trumpet his heroics even though many others, including countless strangers, do so on his behalf.

"I think I was going to die," Borges told the "Today" show Wednesday in an exclusive interview from his home. He also spoke to Univision in Spanish for the network's "Aquí y Ahora" (Here and Now) primetime newsmagazine.

"I only did what I could, what I had to, [to] save others," he told Aquí y Ahora host Teresa Rodriguez.

The freshman has finally returned home after undergoing nine operations. Doctors told the family their walk-up apartment would not be easily navigable for Borges until he recovers more completely, so they moved into a first-floor unit. Doctors think he will be able to play soccer again.

Borges was shot five times during the Feb. 14 school massacre, which killed 14 fellow students and three faculty members. Borges barricaded a classroom door with his body, using it as a human shield, as bullets tore into his legs, lung and near his liver.

But his heroics ensured that some of his classmates walked away alive and uninjured. Some fellow students call him "the real Iron Man." Family lawyer Alex Arreaza told "Today" interviewer Kerry Sanders "he's a hero. He's the real deal."

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Last month Arreaza served notice to Broward County officials and the school that he planned to sue on behalf of the family. "These kids at this school were let down at just about every level,” he told the Herald in early March.

On "Today," Arreaza said of the injuries Borges had to endure and the system's failure in protecting the students: "This is the poster child for everything that has gone wrong."

On Wednesday, the family shared with "Today" viewers boxes of letters from strangers that thanked the young man for his bravery. Some of the letters came from the family's native Venezuela.

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"He's a fighter. He's a winner. He's a champion," one read in Spanish. Actor Clark Gregg, who plays Agent Phil Coulson in the "Iron Man" films sent a video message to Borges. "You're a hero. We hope you get better and come visit us," Gregg said in the clip aired on "Today."

Borges, who speech is labored and halting from his injuries simply shook his head side-to-side when asked if he considered himself a hero.

A GoFundMe page designed to help the family with Borges' medical expenses and recovery has raised more than $802,000 toward a $1 million goal.

The full Univision "Aquí y Ahora" interview with Borges airs at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 18.

Follow @HowardCohen on Twitter.