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Sunday
Feb182018

Florida school shooting 'hero' JROTC cadet should receive military burial: Classmates

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.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Feb182018

Parkland school building where 17 were killed should be demolished: Officials

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 for."

Meanwhile, White House officials said Sunday that President Trump will host a "listening session" on school safety on Wednesday with students and teachers at the White House, and meet with local and state officials on Thursday to continue discussing the subject.

Some students from Stoneman Douglas High plan to be at the Florida state capital in Tallahassee on Tuesday to meet with state legislators to demand they take action to keep students safe in school.

Student Jaclyn Corin organized the trip and says about 100 students will join her in Tallahassee.

Jaclyn said all of the students are part of the “Never Again” movement spawned by the mass killing at their school and has been spreading across the country via social media.

"It shows that we are mature enough," Jaclyn told ABC News. "We will come at them and do whatever it takes to change the way our state runs and the nation [operates]."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Feb182018

Student used his body as human shield to protect classmates in Florida shooting

Family of Anthony Borges(PARKLAND, Fla.) -- When he and his classmates came face to face with a gunman shooting up their Florida school, Anthony Borges put the lives of others before his own, a friend who survived because of the teenager told ABC News.

A soccer player at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, 15-year-old Anthony placed his body between alleged mass killer Nikolas Cruz and fellow students, according to Carlos Rodriguez, who said he survived because of Anthony's heroism.

"None of us knew what to do, so he took the initiative to just save his other classmates," Carlos, Anthony's best friend, told ABC's "Good Morning America."

As gunfire erupted on Wednesday in the halls of Building 12 at the Parkland, Florida, school, Anthony and his classmates rushed to hide in a classroom as the gunman bore down on them, firing randomly and rapidly at students, Carlos said.

Anthony was the last of 20 students who fled into a room and was trying to lock the door when he was shot, Carlos said. He held his ground in the doorway, putting his body between the bullets and his classmates, who all survived uninjured, Carlos said.

Anthony was shot four times, taking bullets to the back and both legs, but survived, his father said.

Royer Borges told ABC News that his son called him shortly after the attack and described the massacre at his school that left 17 people dead.

"He just called me and says, 'Dad, somebody shot me in the back and my leg, too," said the father, breaking into tears.

Royer Borges said he has heard of the courageous selflessness his son showed and expressed pride in his boy.

"He's my hero," he said.

Royer Borges said his son is in a hospital in stable condition after undergoing hours of surgery.

"I only ask that people pray for him," he said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Feb182018

Florida shooting survivor who lost four friends in the massacre speaks out

ABC News(PARKLAND, Fla.) -- A survivor of the Florida school massacre last week that killed 17 students and teachers said that as she heard shots ring out at her school, she thought of her family and the life she always thought lay ahead of her.

"All I could think of was my family," Lauren Hogg told ABC News' This Week Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz on Sunday. "I thought of things I haven’t done. I’m 14 -- I haven’t even driven yet."

She said she also thought of her brother, David, 17, also a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, Florida.

“He’s my best friend. I was just so scared of losing him,” she said.

Lauren, who later learned that four friends died in the shooting, said she was hearing from classmates on her phone as the rampage unfolded.

"We got a text, and it would be, 'Are you guys OK? Are those gunshots? Did somebody just hear gunshots? What’s happening?'" she said. "And then another person would text, 'I hear somebody coming down the hall, there’s kids screaming.'"

Lauren's brother, David, and their mother, Rebecca Boldrick, who teaches in the Broward County school system, also talked to Raddatz on Sunday.

David said he wasn't able to receive his sister's texts during the shooting. "It was awful," he said.

“I was thinking of a million things at once" as it occurred, he said. "I was also thinking if I was going to die in here, if this was my last moment, I was going to die doing what I love, and that’s telling people’s stories and stories that matter.”

So, as shots rang out in the school, David interviewed classmates and recorded them talking about gun violence and gun control.

“This is the story that I thought mattered the most because if we died ... even though our souls wouldn’t carry on, our voices would," he said.

Raddatz asked Lauren how she found out her friends were among the victims.

"Well, we were still hiding in the class," she said. "There were rumors getting texted around, and there’s texts going around that said, 'I heard this person’s dead, I heard this person, I saw them shot on the floor."

Laure added, "I can’t handle it. I lost four friends, yes."

"Four friends," Raddatz said.

"Jaime Guttenburg, Alaina Petty, Alyssa Alhadeff and Gina Montalto," Lauren said. "We sat next to each other in class. We spent days on end just talking about what we want to do when we grow up, where we want to go to college -- and now it’s just gone."

Lauren and David's mother, Boldrick, said of school shootings, “You never think it will happen to you."

"You see it on the news, you think, ‘How sad. Oh, those Sandy Hook parents -- their babies are gone,” she continued, referring to the December 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, that killed 20 first-graders and six staff and teachers. “You never, ever think it will be you.”

One mom whose son died in a prior mass shooting said some parents whose children were killed at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland may at first have trouble coping with the reality.

“A lot of them are probably in some very strong denial,” Christine Leinonen, whose son, Christopher, was among 49 killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando in 2016, told Raddatz on Sunday. “It's a good thing to have denial because it does get you through the reality. ... The reality is so horrific."

Parents suffering such a sudden, violent loss are “in a war zone," Leinonen said. "They have now been put into a battlefield that they didn’t train for, they didn’t enlist for, they have no equipment for -- but yet here they are in a battlefield.”

Leinonen went looking for her son in the wake of the Pulse shooting, but it was 33 hours before she found out he was among the dead.

Of the parents of children shot dead at Stoneman Douglas, she said, "They are going to have one hell of a nightmare.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Feb182018

Florida shooting survivors announce 'March for Our Lives' demonstration in Washington

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Teen survivors of the school shooting massacre in Florida 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 High School 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 scheduled for March 24, according to Kasky and four of his classmates whom Raddatz interviewed. They are Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Alex Wind and Jaclyn Corin.

In addition to the march in Washington, the organizers are planning 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 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.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Feb182018

Record warmth on its way to Northeast

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The warmest temperatures since November are headed for parts of the Northeast this week.

Temperatures from New York to Boston will be in the 40s on Sunday. The Ohio Valley and Gulf Coast will see 70s on Tuesday, with that warmth sliding east a day later as temperatures may reach 15 to 20 degrees above normal.

New York may see 70 degrees on Wednesday, which would be the highest temperature in the city since it touched 74 degrees on Nov. 3. In the longer term, temperatures in the eastern U.S. may remain above average for another week or two.

A strong storm in the Pacific Northwest on Saturday knocked out power lines and downed trees in northwest Washington. Wind gusts near Seattle reached almost 50 mph. Nearby mountains saw heavy snowfall.

Another cold-pressure system developing in the Northwest is expected to bring with it the coldest air of the season for much of the West Coast. The lowlands of Washington and Oregon are expecting more snow Sunday morning, and Seattle and Portland may see 1-2 inches through Sunday. Parts of the Rockies and Cascades may see 1-2 feet.

By Monday morning, lows will dip to the low 20s across the Northwest. By Tuesday, wind chills in the 30s will creep all the way down to San Francisco and Los Angeles as parts of the northern plains see lows approach minus 30.

A system moving through the Rockies will bring more precipitation from Colorado to Minnesota, as parts of Kansas and Wisconsin see a wintry mix.

Heavy rain is expected from Texas to Michigan later in the week, bringing with it moderate concern of a flash flood in the region. A state of emergency was declared in West Virginia on Saturday because of excessive flooding.

Significant parts of the U.S. may get 5-7 inches of rainfall by the middle of the week.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Feb172018

Florida shooting survivor tells rally 'it's time for victims' to change gun laws

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) -- Teen survivors of the shooting massacre at a Florida high school this week were among the speakers at a rally for firearm-safety legislation that drew a passionate, sign-waving crowd of hundreds of gun control supporters in Fort Lauderdale.

Emma Gonzalez, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 students and staff were killed Wednesday, wiped tears as she urged the audience at the Saturday rally to fight for firearms restrictions to help prevent further mass shootings.

After Gonzalez slammed politicians who accept contributions from the NRA, saying they should be ashamed, the crowd began loudly chanting, “Shame on you! Shame on you!”

The student said she and her classmates in AP classes at the high school often debated gun control and were discussing it even as the shooting broke out Wednesday.

But she like other students who spoke at the rally said the time for talk is over and now elected officials must take action or the public will.

“If all our government and president can do is send thoughts and prayers then it’s time for victims to be the change we need to be,” Gonzalez said.

Another student from the high school, David Hogg, urged the crowd: “Get out there and vote.”

Even beyond voting, Hogg said, "Run for office.'

The rally at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale was sponsored by gun-control advocacy groups such as Moms Demand Action as well as other organizations including the PTA, the League of Women Voters, Women's March Florida and the Broward Teachers Union.

Delaney Tarr, a classmate of Hogg and Gonzalez, told the rapt audience that the gun laws that allegedly allowed 19-year-old suspect Nikolas Cruz to buy an AR-15 rifle make no sense.

"Because of these gun laws, people I love have died," Tarr said. "Where's the common sense in that? People are dying every day."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Feb172018

'Painfully in the news again,' parents who lost 2 children in alleged nanny attack reveal their kids' 'legacy' 

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."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Feb172018

Thousands grieve for slain Chicago police commander

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.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Feb172018

Families, friends gather as more loved ones are laid to rest in wake of school shooting

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(PARKLAND, Fla.) -- A 17-year-old boy whose last social media post said his girlfriend was "a greater blessing than I could ever imagine" will be mourned at a funeral on Saturday, the latest service for the 17 people killed in a shooting massacre at a Florida high school.

Joaquin Oliver was a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a former student allegedly opened fire Wednesday. It's the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. since the 2012 rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which killed 26.

Oliver was born in Venezuela and became a U.S. citizen in January 2017, according to ABC affiliate WPLG-TV. He was an avid fan of Venezuela's national soccer team, American football, basketball, Florida State University and R&B artist Frank Ocean.

His last social media post was dedicated to his girlfriend, according to WPLG-TV.

His funeral will take place Saturday afternoon.

Funeral services have already been held for some other victims. The service for Alyssa Alhadeff, 14, who played soccer, was held in North Lauderdale on Friday morning. The funeral for Meadow Pollack, 18, a college-bound senior, took place in Parkland on Friday afternoon.

There have been multiple community vigils and religious services in Broward County in the wake of the Feb. 14 shooting.

Life Fellowship Church in Coral Springs organized a prayer and peace walk around the community Saturday morning. Alexander-Levitt Funerals and Cremations in Tamarac will host a candlelight vigil Saturday evening. First United Methodist Church in Coral Springs will hold prayer services Sunday morning. And Tomorrow's Rainbow, a nonprofit in Coconut Creek, is hosting candlelight vigils and offering bereavement counselors every night through March 10 from 6-7:30 p.m. ET.

Investigators believe approximately 150 shots were fired during Wednesday's attack, a law enforcement source told ABC News. In addition to the 17 killed, more than a dozen people were injured. As of Saturday, the hospitals have one patient in critical condition and four patients in fair condition.

The Broward Education Foundation, which raises money for the public school system, has set up an official page on crowdfunding site GoFundMe for those wanting to make monetary donations to the affected individuals and families. There are other pages set up for specific victims and their loved ones.

GoFundMe spokesman Bobby Whithorne said they have removed campaigns with no direct connection to the victims in the shooting or their families.

"We guarantee the money raised by those campaigns will be transferred to the right person," Whithorne told ABC News. "We will continue to monitor the platform and will stay in close touch with Florida officials."

The alleged gunman in Wednesday's rampage, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, has been arrested and charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. He is being held in a Broward County jail without bond.

Cruz had been expelled from the high school last year for unspecified disciplinary reasons, authorities said. He allegedly used an AR-15-style rifle that he legally purchased within the past year from a federally licensed dealer, law enforcement officials told ABC News.

Meanwhile, more than 100 protesters stood outside the National Rifle Association headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia, on Friday night, demanding action on gun control following the school shooting in Florida. Among the crowd of demonstrators were friends of some of the students and faculty members who were killed at Marjory Stoneman; Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va.; and relatives of those fatally shot at Virginia Tech in 2007.

"Children are dead because of you," Connolly said of the NRA, according to ABC affiliate WJLA-TV.

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