Friends petition for military funeral for Stoneman Douglas student hailed as hero

Friends of a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student killed in Wednesday’s mass shooting have started a petition for him to be buried with full military honors.

Witnesses said 15-year-old Peter Wang, a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet, was shot and killed while ushering others to safety. Peter died in his JROTC uniform, witnesses said.

His friend filed the petition on the government’s We the People site. If the petition receives more than 86,000 signatures, it will get a response from the White House. As of Sunday morning, the petition had more than 14,000 signatures.

“I want people to know that he died a hero, that he died saving many people,” said classmate and friend Aiden Ortiz.

Another classmate, Rachel Kuperman, said Peter was a selfless person. The last time Rachel saw Peter was on Tuesday at school — a day before the massacre.

“I forgot my lunch that day and he went to the vending machine with me and he bought me Sprite and candy and snacks. He put others before himself,” Rachel said.

Peter’s family plans to hold a funeral service at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Kraeer Funeral Home, 655 N. University Drive in Coral Springs.

Follow this story

Stoneman Douglas survivors plan march on Washington, demanding ‘new normal’ on gun laws

Teen survivors of the school shooting massacre in Florida last week are calling for a march on Washington to demand action on gun control.

Student organizers of the protest told ABC News’ “This Week” Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz on Sunday that they are determined to use protests and political action to make the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, Florida, a turning point in the national debate over gun control.

“People keep asking us, what about the Stoneman Douglas shooting is going to be different, because this has happened before and change hasn’t come?” Cameron Kasky, an 11th-grader told Raddatz. “This is it.”

Called “March for our lives,” the demonstration in Washington is to be on March 24, according to Kasky and four of his classmates whom Raddatz interviewed along with him. They are Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Alex Wind and Jaclyn Corin.

In addition to the march in Washington, the organizers also plan protests in other cities around the country.

“This isn’t about the GOP,” Kasky said. “This isn’t about the Democrats.”

“Any politician on either side who is taking money from the NRA is responsible for events like this,” the high school junior said of the shooting on Feb. 14 that killed 17 students and teachers at the school. “At the end of the day, the NRA is fostering and promoting gun this gun culture.”

Kasky said the point is to “create a new normal where there’s a badge of shame on any politician who’s accepting money from the NRA.”

Gonzalez added that the student activists from Parkland want to have conversations about guns with President Donald Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Gov. Rick Scott, also a Republican.

“We want to give them the opportunity to be on the right side of this,” she said.

Raddatz asked Gonzales what she would say to other students around the country to encourage them to join the protest.

The high school senior said all students should realize that a school shooting could happen anywhere.

“This can very quickly happen to them,” Gonzalez said. “They need to join us, and they need to help us get our message across.”

Follow this story

Trump criticizes FBI’s missteps in Parkland school shooting

President Donald Trump criticized the FBI late Saturday, saying the agency missed warnings about the Parkland school shooting because it was too focused on the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

“Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable,” Trump said on Twitter. “They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!”

The FBI admitted this week that the agency had received a detailed warning about gunman Nikolas Cruz before the shooting, but the information was not passed on to the appropriate agents.

Authorities said Cruz, 19, killed 17 people and wounded more than a dozen others Wednesday after he opened fire inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The FBI received a tip that Cruz had a “desire to kill people,” disturbing social media posts and access to a gun. Another man had contacted the FBI after someone named Nikolas Cruz posted on YouTube, “Im going to be a professional school shooter.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has called for FBI Director Christopher Wray to resign. However, other Florida officials have stopped short of calling for Wray to step down.

Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, said it was “inexcusable” that the FBI did not follow protocols and urged Congress to launch its own investigation. Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch, of Boca Raton, promised to be in “close communication with the FBI so we can get to the bottom of this.”

Wray apologized in a rare statement admitting the FBI’s missteps.

A number of people, including fellow students and neighbors, had reported Cruz to authorities, in addition to the FBI.

The Florida Department of Child and Families investigated Cruz after he filmed a video of cutting himself on Snapchat. The report also said Cruz suffered from depression, carried a backpack with a Nazi symbol and wanted to buy a weapon. 

The agency found no signs of neglect and ended the investigation, according to the report.

Cruz, a former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was transferred to another school for disciplinary reasons in February of 2017. Neighbors said police were called to his home more than a dozen times in the past few years after disturbances.

Follow this story

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to remain closed through Wednesday

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School will remain closed through Wednesday, according to Broward County Public Schools.

The school will remain closed Tuesday and Wednesday, the school district said in a news release late Saturday night.

School officials said the goal is to allow staff to return to campus by the end of the week.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has been closed since 17 people were killed in a mass shooting last Wednesday.

Former student Nikolas Cruz, 19, was arrested on 17 counts of premeditated murder and is being held without bond.

“Our hearts remain with the victims and families impacted by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy,” Broward County Public Schools said in a release. “Across our community, the difficult and emotional recovery process continues, as we struggle to understand this senseless act of violence and find a way to move forward.”

All district schools and offices are closed Monday for Presidents Day.

Follow this story

Clad in sports jerseys, friends say farewell to student killed in Parkland shooting

Hundreds traveled to Boca Raton on Saturday for a mass and viewing for a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student who was killed along with 16 others Wednesday. 

But instead of suits and ties, most mourners dressed in sports jerseys — a fitting tribute for 17-year-old Joaquin Oliver, a well-liked teen who went by the nickname “Guac.”

He was a massive sports fan, following football, basketball and the Venezuelan national soccer team.

“He is the most incredible soul ever,” Victoria Gonzalez, Joaquin’s girlfriend, said.

In an emotional interview with “Good Morning America,” Victoria explained why her boyfriend was one of the most popular students at school.

“His heart was so big; all he did was love everyone,” Victoria said. “He told me all the time that what he wanted in life was to make everyone else feel loved. He was everyone’s hero.”

Joaquin, who was born in Venezuela before moving to the U.S. as an infant, became a U.S. citizen last year. He told his friends he was proud and wore a black bow tie and, and a black vest for the swearing-in ceremony, which he attended with his family.

Joaquin’s last social media post was a love dedication to Victoria. 

“Thank you lord for putting a greater blessing than I could ever imagine into my life this past year,” he wrote. “I love you with all my heart.”

Follow this story