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Gun violence in the US

West Point military academy honours ‘heroic’ would-be soldier Peter Wang who was killed in Florida school shooting

Peter Wang is credited with saving the lives of others by holding open a door for them to escape, and he was wearing his cadet uniform when he was killed

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 February, 2018, 11:15am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 June, 2018, 3:28am

A top US military academy gave an honorary letter of acceptance to a Florida teen who was killed during last week’s mass shooting at a high school.

Fifteen-year-old Peter Wang, an Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) cadet at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was among the 17 people killed in the Valentine’s Day attack.

Wang’s dream had been to go to the prestigious US Military Academy at West Point, which instructs officers-in-training.

According to local media, he died after holding a door open to help schoolmates escape before him as a gunman prowled through the school and opened fire on students and teachers.

“One of USMA’s priorities is to develop leaders of character who are committed to the values of Duty, Honour & Country,” the academy wrote on Twitter.

“Peter Wang’s actions on February 14 are an example of those principles & the academy honours his dream of being a West Point cadet with a 2025 letter of acceptance.”

West Point officials announced they were giving Wang a letter of acceptance because of his “heroic actions”

The academy posted pictures of Wang’s letter, as well as a photo of the young student standing at attention in a blue cadet’s uniform.

West Point said it has given posthumous offers of admissions only in very rare instances.

The US military is awarding medals to two other cadets who were killed in last week’s high school shooting: Alaina Petty and Martin Duque, both 14.

Cadet Command spokesman Michael Maddox said that just 48 JROTC heroism medals have been awarded in the past 20 years.

Maddox said JROTC students who survived the shooting at Douglas also might receive medals for the help they gave to others as the attack was underway; Zackary Walls and Colton Haab helped to build a makeshift shield out of sheets of Kevlar for students who evacuated to the JROTC classroom, and Jude Lenamon helped panicked students to safely and quickly leave campus after he recognised the sound of gunshots and realised that the incident was not a fire drill.

“Awards for other possible cadets are going through a review process,” Maddox said.

The alleged gunman, Nikolas Cruz, trained with the school’s JROTC marksmanship team when he was briefly a member in 2016.

Agence France-Presse, The Washington Post