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  • Mark Wilson/Getty Images(PARKLAND, Fla.) -- He saved lives in uniform and, his friends say, didn't flinch in the face of an alleged mass shooter in a Parkland, Fla., high school last week.Now, friends of 15-year-old Peter Wang are trying to posthumously honor the "hero" by petitioning for a military burial.Were it not for the heroics displayed by Peter, his friends are certain the death toll on Wednesday would have been higher.Nikolas Cruz, 19, allegedly gunned down innocent and unarmed students and teachers with a semiautomatic rifle. He's been charged with 17 counts of murder.When the mass shooter was marching straight for Peter's classroom, according to one of his close friends who were there, Wang stood tall in full Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) regalia and sacrificed his life as he ushered other students and teachers to safety."He was pointing the door open for other people to escape and then he was struck by the bullets," classmate and friend Aiden Ortiz told ABC station WPLG-TV."I want people to know he died a hero," the teen added. "He died saving many people."Just days after the shooting, Aiden says he's still struggling with losing his friends."Every time I sleep I just keep thinking of bodies," he said. "I'm thinking of who's there and who's not there anymore."Another classmate, Rachel Kuperman, remembered the last time she saw Peter. It was the day before the shooting, and she was trying to figure out what to do after realizing she forgot her lunch.True to form, Peter came to the rescue."He went to the vending machine with me and he bought me Sprite and candy and snacks," she said in an interview with WPLG-TV, before covering her face with her hands and breaking down in tears. "He put others before himself."Aiden and Rachel have pushed to formally revere Peter by spearheading a petition on the White House website "We the People." The goal is to have the federal government bury Peter with military honors."His selfless actions have led to the survival of dozens in the area," the petition, started Friday, reads. "Wang died a hero, and deserves to be treated as such, and deserves a full honors military burial."By Sunday evening the petition garnered 17,000 signatures. It needs a requisite total of 100,000 signatures within 30 days to receive a White House response.Peter's funeral and burial are scheduled to take place on Tuesday morning in Coral Springs, Florida.
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  • Mark Wilson/Getty Images(PARKLAND, Fla.) -- As two more funeral services were held Sunday for victims of the latest American mass school shooting, authorities told ABC News that a major step toward healing Parkland, Fla., would be to demolish the building where 17 students and teachers were gunned down.Mourners crowded into Temple Beth El in Boca Raton for a private funeral service for Scott Biegel, the 35-year-old geography teacher shot to death at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday as he tried to protect students from the gunman.Earlier, family and friends held a memorial for 14-year-old Alexander Schachter, a freshman and trombone player in the school marching band, at the Heron Bay Marriott in Coral Springs.Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said he and officials believe a fitting tribute to Biegel, Alexander and 15 others killed in the massacre would be tear down the building the shooting occurred and turn the space into a memorial park."So I will tell you that we...aren't having any classes held in that building going forward," Runcie told ABC News. "What the ultimate disposition of that building is, we don't have any definitive answer. I can tell you what the aspirations of the community are and I agree with them, is that that building should be demolished and a memorial erected there."Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said the bullet-riddled Building 12 at the high school is still a crime scene, where investigators are combing for evidence.The sheriff, whose department is leading the investigation of the killing spree, told ABC News he agreed that "as soon as humanly possible, that building be destroyed forever.""Kids shouldn't have to walk by and even look at that building. It's just a stark reminder of the horrific, detestable killings that went on that day," Israel said.School officials announced Sunday that Stoneman Douglas High School will remain closed through at least Wednesday."The goal is to allow staff to return to campus by the end of the week," according to a statement from the Broward County School District.Israel said three of his children, triplets, all attended Stoneman Douglas High School and had classes in Building 12 when they were freshmen in 2015."When I walked through the school for the first time, and I certainly wouldn’t be graphic about what I saw, I don’t think that’s appropriate for TV, but as I started to internalize what I did see, I was imagining three years earlier, when my children were freshmen, being in that same room," Israel said. "It was heart-wrenching."Four patients injured in the shooting remained hospitalized, all in fair condition, according to Broward Health Systems officials.Israel said the alleged killer, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, is in solitary confinement under suicide watch."We always have eyeballs on him," Israel said, adding that Cruz has stopped speaking with investigators."The killer has his constitutional rights -- has decided not to speak. He has an attorney, and his attorney has made it clear. So we've stopped the questioning phase," Israel said. "So now the investigation is in the hands of my lab people, my crime [and] CSI people."Cruz's lawyer, Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein, told ABC News he is willing to have his client plead guilty immediately in return for the prosecution agreeing to take the death penalty off the table.But Israel said he has heard from many people in the community who don't want to see any leniency granted to Cruz."I think Howard would tell you that it'll be easier to heal if we don't have a trial and everything that would go with it over a plethora of years," Israel said. "But there are people out there who told me, 'I don't wanna go to bed tonight with him alive.' So the death penalty has to be considered, and that's not my call."Broward County state attorney Michael Satz issued a statement on Saturday, saying: "This is certainly the type of case the death penalty was designed
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  • James Keivom/NY Daily News via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Five years ago in October Marina Krims returned home to her Upper West Side Manhattan apartment to find two of her children Lulu, 6, and Leo, 2, stabbed to death in the bathtub.Their nanny Yoselyn Ortega, now 56, was charged in the savagery that took place on the night of Oct. 25, 2012 inside the family's West 75th Street apartment.When Marina came back from a swimming lesson with her daughter Nessie, Ortega met her there, knife in hand. Ortega began to cut herself, according to contemporaneous reports and was soon hospitalized for self-inflicted wounds.Ortega's trial for the alleged murder of Lulu and Leo is set to begin with jury selection on Monday. She has pleaded not guilty.But before the trial gets underway, Kevin and Marina Krim have come forward to share the legacy of their slain progeny.In a video posted on the couples' Facebook page on Friday, Kevin, a former CNBC executive, stood in an apartment with their kids milling about and announced that "after five long years the criminal trial in our case is finally getting started.""And over the next few months the story of Lulu and Leo and our whole family will be painfully in the news again," he said.Kevin said he knows that the upcoming trial "will be very hard for us and for a lot of you."His wife Marina stared bravely at the camera to acknowledge that their family is set to endure a "really horrible time."But rather than mull over the negatives, Marina instead said she and her husband hope to "focus on the positive and the goodness that's come out of this."They want to carry on the spirit and joy of their children and remember their fondness for art.Already, the Krims have managed to channel the horror they suffered to creative learning through their philanthropy which incorporates art into various school curriculums.The Lulu & Leo Fund, according to its website, was established to bring necessary healing and remind so many "that art and nature played a critical role in their short, beautiful lives" and also how it has affected their surviving daughter, Nessie.After returning on a cross-country trip with Nessie in an RV, the couple added Felix and Linus to their family.Like their sister, the boys also made cameos in the video to plug the nonprofit's principles."This is the legacy of Lulu and Leo," Marina said. "This is what matters."
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  • WLS-TV(CHICAGO) -- Thousands of people gathered Saturday morning to mourn a decorated Chicago police officer, who was gunned down while on duty this week.A line of mourners wrapped around the street as they waited to enter the Nativity of Our Lord Church for the funeral service of Chicago police Cmdr. Paul Bauer, according to ABC station WLS-TV. Bauer's wife, Erin, and their 13-year-old daughter, Grace, stood on the church steps to greet family, friends and law enforcement officers as they went inside.Grade did the first reading for her father's funeral Mass. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, police Capt. Mel Roman as well as John Escalante, who retired from the department in 2016 and is now the police chief at Northeastern Illinois University, were among those who delivered remarks about the fallen officer."Chicago is blessed to have known and been served by Paul Bauer," Emanuel said. "Chicago will never forget his grace and his goodness."After the funeral mass, a sea of officers in blue as well as local citizens lined the procession route from Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood to the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in honor of the slain officer and the loved ones he leaves behind.Bauer was shot and killed after engaging with a suspect near the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago on Tuesday.There was a report of a suspicious person spotted by a police officer who was patrolling the grounds by the Thompson Center, otherwise referred to as the State of Illinois Building, which has businesses on the first floor and a food court on the floor below. An officer made initial contact with the suspect but the person fled, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told a press conference Tuesday.Bauer spotted the suspect and engaged him, but was shot multiple times, Johnson said.The suspect, 44-year-old Shomari Legghette of South Side Chicago, was later arrested. A weapon was recovered at the scene.Legghette, a convicted felon, faces felony charges in the brazen shooting death, including first-degree murder and armed violence. He is being held without bond.
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  • Broward County Sheriff(PARKLAND, Fla.) -- A lawyer for Nikolas Cruz, the young man accused of gunning down 17 people at a Florida high school, told ABC News he is willing to have his client plead guilty immediately in return for the prosecution agreeing to take the death penalty off the table.Cruz, 19, would instead have a life sentence, said Broward County public defender Howard Finkelstein.Finkelstein told ABC News in a detailed phone interview that his decision is based on the reality that the facts are not in question and that Cruz’s alleged crimes occurred after an apparent series of breakdowns of systems like law enforcement, social services and education.Finkelstein said he has not yet notified prosecutors of his offer but plans to this weekend.A trial would serve no purpose but to prolong the inevitable instead of allowing the community to start the process of healing, Finkelstein said."We have an opportunity to begin to put this behind us, to help the victims’ families as much as we can and begin to heal as a community,” Finkelstein said.“It comes down to one simple question: Does he live or does he die?” Finkelstein said.Finkelstein said an insanity plea "is not a viable path.""Even if somebody is severely insane, when there’s mass destruction and mass carnage, not guilty by insanity" is extremely rare, he said."This is not a case for lawyer games. Everybody knows what happened. There’s no question about whether he committed this act. And there’s no question of whether this is the most horrific act ever in Broward County -- it is," he said.Finkelstein also pointed the blame at others."The school system failed. The mental health system failed. DCF [The Department of Children and Families], our social service agencies failed. Law enforcement failed because every red flag was present. And the FBI apparently failed," he said. "And the security measures for somebody to buy guns failed. Every single system was ignorant or willfully blind."It seems to me that this kid was screaming for help in every which way -- he was failed," Finkelstein said, adding, "That’s not an excuse in any way.”Cruz was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder after the Valentine's Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Investigators believe approximately 150 shots were fired, a law enforcement source told ABC News.Cruz -- a former student at the school -- slipped away from the campus after the shooting by blending in with other students who were trying to escape, police said. After a tense manhunt, he was apprehended.The FBI said Friday that proper protocol was not followed in following up on a tip about Cruz.A person close to Cruz called an FBI tip line on Jan. 5 with information about Cruz's desire to kill people, erratic behavior, disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting, according to an FBI statement.“We have determined that these protocols were not followed for the information received by the PAL on January 5. The information was not provided to the Miami field office, and no further investigation was conducted at that time,” the FBI said in a statement on Friday.FBI director Christopher Wray said the agency is still investigating and regrets any additional pain the information could cause to victims.
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