Two of the victims were coaches. One was a student who played trombone in the school band. Another proudly wore his ROTC uniform. Still another loved soccer. And most were so very young.
The gunman who opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, wiped out lives, and left families and friends struggling to cope after America’s latest mass shooting.
Among the victims was Peter Wang, 15, who died wearing his gray ROTC shirt, and was last seen holding a door open for other students, his cousins Lin Chen and Aaron Chen told local news outlets.
Peter was one of three freshmen members of the Junior ROTC program at the school who was killed.
“He doesn’t care about popularity. He always liked to cheer people up. He is like the big brother everyone wished they had,” said Lin Chen.
She told the Sun-Sentinel that Peter had two brothers, ages 11 and 5, and his parents, too upset to talk, own a restaurant in West Palm Beach. They had planned to celebrate Chinese New Year’s eve Thursday.
“I feel the family can never be the same,” she said.
Lin Chen wasn’t surprised to hear that her cousin was seen helping others flee.
“He is so brave. He is the person who is genuinely kind to everyone,” she said.
Meanwhile, efforts are being made to petition Congress to authorize a military funeral for Wang, Fox News reports.
“Peter Wang, 15, was one of the students killed in Florida this past week,” the petition states. “He was a JROTC Cadet who was last seen, in uniform, holding doors open and thus allowing other students, teachers, and staff to flee to safety. Wang was killed in the process. His selfless and heroic actions have led to the survival of dozens in the area. Wang died a hero, and deserves to be treated as such, and deserves a full honors military burial.”
By Monday morning, nearly 20,000 people had already signed the petition. It needs to gather 100,000 signatures by March 18 to get a response from the White House.