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‘It looked like a war zone’: Parkland high school shooting victim’s father describes visiting school site

<i>Amy Beth Bennett/AP</i><br/>The father of Parkland
Amy Beth Bennett/AP
The father of Parkland

By Raja Razek, CNN

(CNN) — The father of a Parkland, Florida, high school shooting victim who visited the untouched site five years after the massacre that left 17 people dead said he was not prepared for what he saw at the crime scene, which had “blood everywhere.”

Max Schachter, father of Alex Schachter, told CNN’s Abby Phillip on Friday, “I wanted to go in Alex’s classroom. I wanted to sit in the chair that Alex took his last breath in, and that he was murdered in, and it was just unbelievable.”

Some families and surviving victims – at their request – are being given private, individual tours inside the 1200 building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, CNN previously reported.

The school was the scene of the deadliest US high school shooting, which left 14 students and three faculty members killed and 17 others injured on Valentine’s Day in 2018.

The three-story building has been preserved pending two trials connected to the shooting, which ignited a wave of student-led protests against America’s ongoing scourge of school shootings.

Schachter said that while he “knew everything that happened,” as he is on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, he was shocked by its condition.

“If you’ve done a lot of coverage on the Ukraine war … that’s what it looked like in the school,” he said. “It looked like a war zone where a mass murderer had hunted down and killed children and staff, and it was grotesque. There was blood everywhere. I was just not prepared for that.”

Linda Beigel Schulman, the mother of geography teacher Scott Beigel who was killed in the shooting, also told CNN Friday she was crushed by what she saw.

“I walked into the school, and it was exactly like they say, everything was left the way it was on that day,” Beigel Schulman said. “Even though I had seen the video of what had transpired on February 14, 2018, it was, it was just devastating walking in.”

Beigel Schulman described seeing bullet holes in the classrooms.

“We went slowly. We went through the first floor and to the second floor, and then to the third floor, and that was really important for me because I want to see where my son took his last breath.

“And I wanted to understand what I had seen on that video where the shooter was walking up those steps and five feet away from Scott, and actually shooting him six time within three seconds from five feet away,” she said.

She said she could visualize where Scott and the shooter were both standing.

“I could finally understand where Scott was standing, how he was holding the door, how he got shot and then go into the classroom and see where his blood was on the floor,” she said.

Beigel Schulman described going into Scott’s class and seeing Valentine’s Day candy on the desks.

She could see “all the papers where there was Valentine’s Day. There were Valentine’s on the floor, there was candy on the desks,” and also described seeing a paper that one of Scott’s students had handed in.

“And this is one of the students who had written letters to us right after the murder,” she said. “Just putting the face, the letter and everything together was really quite devastating.”

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CNN’s Alta Spells, Carlos Suarez and Denise Royal contributed to this report.

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