A 15-year-old high school student showed true heroism during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida.
Peter Wang held a door open for other students to escape the gunman, before being fatally shot.
Witnesses have spoken of the brave, selfless way Peter put the lives of others before his own, choosing to help his classmates before attempting to flee himself.
15-year old Peter Wang was a hero. Before he was killed, he bravely held doors open so that his classmates could escape.
— Khaled Beydoun (@KhaledBeydoun) February 16, 2018
Peter’s cousin, Aaron Chan, had been at the school when the massacre took place and witnessed Peter helping others to escape.
Aaron has since made the following heartbreaking statement about his cousin to First Coast News:
He wasn’t supposed to die. He was supposed to grow old with me.
Another cousin, 24-year-old Lin Chen has described Peter as being ‘funny, caring and selfless’:
He is so brave. He is the person who is genuinely kind to everyone. He doesn’t care about popularity.
He always liked to cheer people up. He is like the big brother everyone wished they had.
Lin, who’d travelled over from Louisiana to be with the family, added:
I feel the family can never be the same.
Peter Wang what an incredible young man you were… Fear not for yourself… But for others… God certainly took the very best from us this horrific sad day …
— Barry Connolly (@RAMS15rule) February 16, 2018
According to the Sun Sentinel, Peter’s family had been planning to spend Chinese New Year’s eve together.
Peter’s best friend, Gabriel Ammirata had also been planning to celebrate with Peter’s family at their restaurant, according to the Miami Herald.
Gabriel described Peter as being ‘funny, nice and a great friend’, saying:
He’s been my best friend since third grade.
This is 15 year old Peter Wang. He was in the school’s ROTC program. He held the door open for other students so they could escape. His cousin said “He wasn't supposded to die. He was supposed to grow old with me.” Wang died yesterday while saving others.#GunReformNow pic.twitter.com/2c47yzL0ad
— Simar (@sahluwal) February 15, 2018
According to First Coast News, friends and family initially believed Peter was only missing and contacted hospitals within the local area.
They later found out he’d been killed during the attack.
It’s thought Peter was born in Brooklyn, New York and had two little brothers, aged 11 and 5. His parents are said to run a Chinese restaurant in West Palm Beach.
Peter had been participating in the Royal Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program and is said to have been wearing his his grey ROTC uniform at the time of the shooting.
Peter Wang, 15, was last seen holding open a school door so others could escape.
— Angus Johnston (@studentactivism) February 15, 2018
The gunman believed to be responsible for shooting dead at least 17 children and teachers and injuring as many as 18 others has been arrested.
19-year-old Nikolas Cruz was apprehended by officers following a short manhunt and has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
Cruz had been a former pupil at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, but was expelled for disciplinary reasons.
Cruz’s legal team have reported he suffers from autism and depression as well as other psychological issues.
Precious, Peter. As a professor, I will tell every semester your story to students for the rest of my life. Thank you, young brave American Hero, Peter Wang.
— Nancy Bandiera (@BandieraNancy) February 16, 2018
According to CNN, officers had been called to Cruz’s family home 39 times since 2010, responding to emergencies including ‘mentally ill person,’ ‘child/elderly abuse,’ ‘domestic disturbance’ and ‘missing person.’
Cruz’s adoptive mother passed away in November, with his father having already died years before due to a heart attack.
This shooting is the eighteenth to have occurred at an American school this year and is the third deadliest in US history.
Peter Wang held the door open for his fellow students to help them escape when he got gunned down.
That story crushed me.
— Deon (@imnottayediggs) February 16, 2018
RIP: THE VICTIMS ?
Carmen Schentrup#ParklandStrong pic.twitter.com/8Krq90gVS5
— Joel Franco (@OfficialJoelF) February 16, 2018
"Peter Wang was shot holding a door open, so others could flee."
Powerful. I hope I could be half as much of a man as he was. #ParklandStrong
— Ian Parish (@IanTreyParish) February 15, 2018
Our thoughts are with all those who’ve been affected by this tragedy.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.