Of the 17 victims who died during the Parkland shooting on Wednesday, 14 were students at Marjory Stonehead Douglas High School. Two of the others were an assistant football coach and the school's athletic director, both of whom were defending children from bullets when 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire with an AR-15 rifle inside the building.
According to multiple students, Beigel unlocked his door when the shooting began and instructed panicking students in the hallway to hide inside his classroom. Once the students were safely inside he attempted to lock the door but was hit by a bullet.
"He unlocked the door and let us in," student Kelsey Friend said. "I had thought he was behind me, but he wasn't. When he opened the door, he had to re-lock it so we could stay safe, but he didn't get the chance to.
"He was in the doorway and the door was still open and the shooter probably didn't know we were in there because he was lying on the floor. If the shooter had come in the room, I probably wouldn't be [alive]," she added.
"He was my hero and he will forever be my hero," Friend said in a separate interview with CNN. "I'll never forget the actions he took for me and for fellow students in the classroom. He was an amazing person and I am alive today because of him. He will be missed."
Beigel doubled as the school's cross country coach. Chad Williams, one of the members of the school's boys team, paid tribute to his deceased coach on Twitter.
"I have said RIP too many times in the past 24 hours but RIP coach Beagle," Williams wrote. "You are a king and heaven got a good one. rest easy..."