Emotional dad of teen killed at school: ‘I don’t remember’ if I said ‘I love you’ daughter’s last morning

ABCNews.com(PARKLAND, Fla.) -- The distraught father of a 14-year-old gunned down in her Florida high school was overcome with emotion as he spoke of her death at a place where "she was supposed to be safe."

"My job is to protect my children," Fred Guttenberg said at a vigil Thursday, his voice cracking. "And I sent my kid to school."

Seventeen people, including students, a teacher and a football coach, lost their lives in the Valentine's Day rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The suspect, a former student, was arrested and has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

Jaime Guttenberg, 14, was among the dead.

"In the morning sometimes things get so crazy, she runs out behind and she's like, 'I got to go, Dad, bye.' And I don't always get to say, 'I love you,'" Guttenberg said at the vigil. "I don't remember if I said that to Jaime yesterday morning."

"Jaime was such a special kid. All of the kids here are. What is unfathomable is Jaime took a bullet and is dead," he said, his voice trembling. "I don't know what I do next. My wife is home. We are broken. But I can tell you -- don't tell me there is no such thing as gun violence."

To the children at the vigil, Guttenberg said, "When you look at us parents like we are crazy, like we are trying too hard to protect you, like we are trying too hard to tell you what not to do ... just remember it's because we love you and we never want to go through the tragedy of losing you."

To the parents, he said, "love your kids, hold your kids, kiss your kids. And don't ever, ever miss the chance to tell them how much you love them."

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