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Peter Wang died holding a classroom door open so his teachers and fellow students could escape the shooter

By Karen Mizoguchi
February 20, 2018 10:47 PM
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Fifteen-year-old Peter Wang dreamed of attending West Point and serving in the U.S. military.

However, the freshman student’s life was cut short on Feb. 14 when he was fatally shot while wearing his U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) uniform at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

On Tuesday, hundreds of mourners gathered at Kraeer Funeral Home in Coral Springs, Florida, to give Peter a hero’s send-off before the cadet, who was born in Brooklyn, New York, was laid to rest at Bailey Memorial Gardens in North Lauderdale.

While he never was able to serve in the armed forces, West Point recognized Peter with the Medal of Heroism, the highest honor for ROTC students. In addition, the school gave him a posthumous admission with a Class of 2025 acceptance letter.

Peter was buried wearing the Medal of Heroism and his JROTC uniform, the same one he had worn when he died holding a classroom door open so his teachers and fellow students could escape the alleged 19-year-old shooter.

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Peter Wang
| Credit: MediaPunch/Shutterstock

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Peter’s mother, Hui Wang, tearfully addressed funeral attendees as she spoke while looking at her child’s coffin.

“I watched you walking to school on February 14,” the grieving parent said, according to the New York Post. “Now my body is bleeding in unbearable pain. Baby, am I in a nightmare? This is unbearable. Baby, hold my hand, reach me. Baby, I’m stuck in this nightmare. Lead the way out.”

On Valentine’s Day morning, a former student, who was also a former JROTC cadet, walked onto the campus of the school in Parkland, Florida, armed with what police say was a military-style semi-automatic rifle and countless magazines, and killed at least 17 people, police allege.

WATCH: 17 Killed in Florida High School Mass Shooting

It was the latest mass shooting in the United States, and shows that the gun violence epidemic can strike anywhere: Last year, Parkland, a Fort Lauderdale suburb, was named the safest city in Florida by The National Council for Home Safety and Security, a trade association.

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Peter Wang’s mother, Hui, cries as she is helped into a waiting car
| Credit: MediaPunch/Shutterstock

The Wang family was presented with a second medal as a keepsake. Peter’s two JROTC cadet classmates, Alaina Petty and Martin Duque, killed in the massacre also received the medal as their respective families also received a keepsake. Only 48 medals have ever been awarded by the Army.

On Monday, more than 1,500 people attended the funeral for 14-year-old Alaina and 14-year-old Martin’s memorial service is scheduled on Saturday.

“[Peter] 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 News. “I want people to know he died a hero. He died saving many people.”

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Peter’s fellow JROTC cadets and military officers from around the area in attendance

A day after the shooting, Peter’s cousin Lin Chen told The Sun-Sentinel: “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. He is so funny, caring and selfless.”

Over 75,000 people signed a petition calling for Peter to have a full military funeral.

“His selfless and heroic actions have led to the survival of dozens in the area. Wang died a hero, and deserves to be treated as such, and deserves a full honors military burial,” read the Whitehouse.gov petition.

The petition needed 100,000 signatures by March 18 to get a response from the White House, according to WhiteHouse.gov.