LEHIGH ACRES — We’re hearing reaction from a parent, who lost his son in the Parkland shooting, after two students at Harns Marsh Middle School were arrested for planning a school shooting.
Max Schachter lost his son Alex in 2018 during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School. He said it was incredibly upsetting to learn students as young 13 and 14 years old at Harns Marsh were involved in this alleged plot to commit mass violence, but he says the worst part for him was learning that there had been several warning signs before the kids were finally identified.
The Sheriff’s Office showed images of one of the boys’ rooms at a press conference Thursday. Boxes of ammunition are visible, along with a poster depicting bullets on the wall.
"This could have been the next Parkland massacre, but we stopped them in the planning stages," said Sheriff Carmine Marceno.
"For the Sheriff to say that this could have been the next Parkland was really really upsetting to me," said Schachter.
Schachter is one of the few people alive who know the pain of losing a child in a mass shooting.
"Just brings back memories of what happened after my son Alex was murdered, along with 16 others in the Parkland school shooting," said Schachter.
Schachter said, after that day, he learned the Parkland shooter had a history of violent incidents. That’s why one of the things Sheriff Marceno said Thursday made him take notice.
“We have responded to their homes for calls almost 80 times combined," said Sheriff Marceno.
“If the cops are at his house 80 times, it really doesn’t seem like this kid was getting the help that he needed, and that enough was done along the way," said Schachter.
That’s why Schachter said he believes there needs to be a full investigation into the two kids involved.
“Were there other red flags that existed along the way? Did these two individuals get the help that they needed that could have gotten them off their pathway to violence before they had to go get arrested and potentially go to prison?" said Schachter.
Schachter also runs a website called Safe Schools for Alex. It tracks violent incidents in schools across Florida, and it lists Harns Marsh Middle School as a school with a high rate of violence.
Back in December of 2019, we reported on an incident at Harns Marsh of a student bringing a loaded gun to school, but Schachter said in this case, he’s glad the teacher reported the student before anything happened.