Funerals held Tuesday for 4 victims killed in Parkland school shooting
Visitations held for athletic director, assistant football coach
PARKLAND, Fla. – Funerals were held Tuesday for four victims killed in the Parkland school shooting -- Cara Loughran, Carmen Schentrup, Gina Montalto and Peter Wang.
Gina's funeral was held at Mary Help of Christian Catholic Church in Parkland, Carmen's funeral was held at St. Andrew Catholic Church in Coral Springs and Cara's funeral was held at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Coral Springs.
A visitation for Peter was held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Kraeer Funeral Home in Coral Springs. He was then laid to rest at Bailey Memorial Gardens in North Lauderdale.
Cara, 14, is remembered by loved ones as an excellent student who loved the beach and her cousins.
An aunt, Lindsay Fontana, wrote on Facebook: "I had to tell my 8-year-old daughters that their sweet cousin Cara was killed in the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School yesterday. We are absolutely gutted."
"While your thoughts are appreciated, I beg you to DO SOMETHING," she wrote. "This should not have happened to our niece Cara and it cannot happen to other people's families."
Cara's neighbor posted a picture of her cheering on a young boy riding a bike with training wheels.
"RIP Cara, and fly with the angels," Danny Vogel wrote. "You will be greatly missed, and we will always love you and celebrate your beautiful life."
Gina, also 14, was a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and participated on the winter color guard squad at the school.
Friends and relatives posted tributes on Facebook, including her mother Jennifer Montalto.
"She was a smart, loving, caring, and strong girl who brightened any room she entered. She will be missed by our family for all eternity," said the post.
One of Gina's color guard instructors from middle school, Manuel Miranda, told the Miami Herald that Gina was "the sweetest soul ever."
"She was kind, caring, always smiling and wanting to help," Miranda said.
Carmen, 16, is remembered by loved ones as a smart girl who had a sweet smile." Carmen was funny, in witty and novel ways. When she got on a roll, we'd laugh until tears rolled down our cheeks. We miss her making us laugh," her family said in a statement.
Carmen had been accepted into the University of Florida Honors program. Her family said she was a straight A student and a National Merit finalist.
"Carmen never knew this. Her award letter arrived the day after she died," the statement read.
Carmen's family said the bright teen wanted to become a medical scientist and discover a cure for diseases like ALS.
"She was going to change the world," their statement read.
Carmen's funeral was held a day before the teen's 17th birthday.
Peter, 15, is remembered by many students as a hero.
Peter died wearing his gray ROTC shirt, and was last seen holding a door open for other students, his cousins Lin Chen and Aaron Chen told local news outlets.
"He doesn't care about popularity. He always liked to cheer people up. He is like the big brother everyone wished they had," Chen said.
She told the Sun-Sentinel that Peter had two brothers, ages 11 and 5, and his parents, too upset to talk, own a restaurant in West Palm Beach. They had planned to celebrate Chinese New Year's Eve Thursday.
"I feel the family can never be the same," she said.
Chen wasn't surprised to hear that her cousin was seen helping others flee.
"He is so brave," she said. "He is the person who is genuinely kind to everyone."
Two Citadel cadets who used to be in JROTC with Peter arrived in South Florida this week to attend his funeral.
"I'm still kind of numb -- it's just so much shock, I don't really know. You don't really know how to take it," Citadel freshman Michael Cassell said. "You see it on TV. When this stuff happens, it seems like all of the time. You know, someone at school said, 'This hits close to home,' and I said, 'No, this hit home.'"
"These are people I was close to, (that) I saw every day at school and it's still very difficult to sink in, so I felt the need to come home and be surrounded by family and friends and help everyone recover through this terrible time," Citadel freshman Justin Friedlander said.
Wang was buried Tuesday in his JROTC uniform along with the Medal of Heroism that was issued by the U.S. Army.
"I want him to be remembered as a hero because that's exactly who he was (and) how his personality was. He wanted to make something of himself," one of Peter's classmates, Victoria Downing, said.
Peter's friends started a petition for him to receive a military funeral with full honors, which garnered tens of thousands of signatures. Unfortunately, it wasn't completed in time for the service.
So instead, the JROTC, Broward Sheriff's Office and representatives from several branches of the military came to provide the honors he deserved.
The Patriot Guard and Warriors Watch Riders, which is made up of veterans from all over South Florida, even helped lead the funeral procession.
Visitations are also being held Tuesday for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School athletic director Chris Hixon and assistant football coach Aaron Feis.
The visitation for Hixon will be held from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Landmark Funeral Home in Hollywood. The visitation for Feis will be held from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Church of the Glades in Coral Springs.
Chris Hixon's wife, Debbie Hixon, previously told Local 10 News that her husband loved his job at the high school and it's no surprise to her that he died trying to protect his students from the gunman.
"As soon as we saw it on the television, my mind knew exactly where Chris was," she said.
Chris Hixon served in the military in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm and will be buried with full military honors.
Many people attended his viewing to pay their respects to a man who they said left the world better than he found it.
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