Florida shooting: West Point admits murdered hero

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US & Canada

Florida shooting: Calls for military funeral for slain student

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Image copyright
BBC (supplied)

Image caption

Peter Wang was reportedly wearing his JROTC uniform when he died

A petition has called for a 15-year-old military reserves trainee who died last week in a school shooting to receive US military honours at his funeral.Peter Wang, who was last seen by students holding a door so others could flee, died on 14 February when a gunman killed 17 people at his Florida school.He was a member of the US Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC), a school programme for potential US military officers.He will be buried later on Tuesday. A petition calling for him to be laid to rest with military honours says he “deserves” to be buried as a hero, because “his selfless and heroic actions have led to the survival of dozens in the area”.The online petition is growing and has so far garnered nearly 60,000 names.Florida shooting: Who are the victims?The funeral home where he is due to be buried would not confirm to BBC News whether Peter will be given a military funeral.Peter, who had spent part of his childhood in his parents’ native China, had dreamed of attending the West Point military academy, friends say.Jesse Pan, a neighbour and longstanding friend of Peter’s family, told the BBC Chinese Service he had tried to support the teenager’s parents as they struggled to cope with the loss.”I was there with his parents, helping translating and finding a funeral home,” he said. “His parents fainted as soon as they saw his body. He had got multiple shots in front… So horrible.”Meanwhile, about 100 students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are travelling by bus to the Florida state capitol, where they plan to hold a rally against gun violence on Wednesday.Their school was the scene of a deadly rampage last week, when an ex-student confessed to opening fire with an AR-17 assault rifle which he had purchased legally despite several mental health warnings.The Stoneman Douglas students, who are out of school until it is due to reopen on 27 February, are hoping their march inspires others across the US.A larger protest is being planned for Washington DC on 24 March.A depressed loner ‘crazy about guns’Nikolas Cruz had moved in with a friend, who also attended the school, after his adoptive mother died in 2017.
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Media captionStudents staged an anti-gun ‘lie-in’The parents who hosted Mr Cruz, James and Kimberly Snead, told CBS News that the teenager was depressed but they did not realise how troubled he was. “The Nik we knew was not the Nik that everybody else seemed to know,” James Snead told CBS. “He pulled one over on us. As well as a lot of people,” Kimberly Snead said. Mr Snead, a US army veteran, said he knew Mr Cruz had guns but believed he had the only key to the safe where they were located. He added that it was Mr Cruz’s right to have guns. Law enforcement officials say that Mr Cruz had legally purchased seven rifles in the last year, despite several mental health warnings.The couple also told ABC News that the Mr Cruz had texted their son only three minutes before the attack began in Parkland, Florida to say he was “going to the movies”.When they first saw him at the police station after he was arrested, he “mumbled’ an apology to the parents.
Image copyright
ABC

Image caption

James and Kimberly Snead told ABC about how they took in the troubled teenager after his adopted mum died

Documents obtained by CBS show that Mr Cruz and his mother, Lynda Cruz, had been visited by Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) after allegations of medical neglect in September 2016.The investigator reportedly determined that Mr Cruz suffered from depression, ADHD and autism, cut his arms in a post on social media and once plastered a racist message on his school backpack. Officials closed the investigation after deciding that he was not being mistreated, according to CBS News. Mr Cruz told child service investigators that “he plans to go out and buy a gun.” according to a DCF report.

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