Navy midshipman Justin Zemser, killed in Amtrak derailment, mourned by Queens community

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Navy Midshipman Killed In Amtrak Derailment Mourned By Family


ROCKAWAY BEACH, Queens (PIX11) - Justin Zemser, a midshipman at the Naval Academy was finishing up his second year at Annapolis, and on his way home on leave, when Amtrak train 188 derailed in Port Richmond Tuesday night. Zemser was one of at least 7 killed in the accident.

"He was wonderful, he was absolutely wonderful. Everyone looked up to my son. I don't know what else there is I can say."

Susan Zemser fought back tears as she remembered her only child Justin Wednesday afternoon. Picture after picture on the mother's Facebook page show just how proud she was of her son. The 20-year-old was just finishing up his second year as a midshipman at the Naval Academy and was coming home to Rockaway Queens when Amtrak 188 derailed Tuesday night.

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Amtrak train crash, derailment, Philadelphia
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Navy midshipman Justin Zemser, killed in Amtrak derailment, mourned by Queens community
Amtrak assistant conductor Brandon Bostian stands by on Aug. 21, 2007 as Sandra Palmer of University City says goodbye to her boyfriend, Clyde Simpson, as he leaves for work in Chicago at the Amtrak station in St. Louis. Bostian was the engineer of the Amtrak train that derailed in Philadelphia. (Huy Richard Mach/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: Investigators and first responders work near the wreckage of an Amtrak passenger train carrying more than 200 passengers from Washington, DC to New York that derailed late last night May 13, 2015 in north Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At least five people were killed and more than 50 others were injured in the crash. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 14: Members of the National Transportation Safety Board gather near the site of the Amtrak train derailment May 14, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia on Tuesday night killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: Repair crews inspect damages at the site of a train derailment accident May 13, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: Investigators and first responders work near the wreckage of Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188, from Washington to New York, that derailed yesterday May 13, 2015 in north Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At least six people were killed and more than 200 others were injured in the crash. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: In this handout image supplied by NTSB, NTSB member Robert Sumwalt works on the scene of the Amtrak Train #188 derailment on May 13, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Service has been interrupted after Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last night, killing at least seven people and injured more than 200. (Photo by NTSBgov via Getty Images)
National Transportation Safety Board lead investigator Robert Sumwalt speaks during a press conference regarding the wreckage of the derailed Amtrak Northeast Regional Train in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 13, 2015. The engineer of a US passenger train traveling at more than twice the approved limit slammed on the emergency brakes just before it derailed in Philadelphia, leaving at least seven people dead, investigators said. AFP PHOTO / ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS (Photo credit should read Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: Investigators and first responders work near the wreckage of Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188, from Washington to New York, that derailed yesterday May 13, 2015 in north Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At least six people were killed and more than 200 others were injured in the crash. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: Investigators and first responders work near the wreckage of an Amtrak passenger train carrying more than 200 passengers from Washington, DC to New York that derailed late last night May 13, 2015 in north Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At least five people were killed and more than 50 others were injured in the crash. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Rescuers work around derailed carriages of an Amtrak train in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 13, 2015. Rescuers on May 13 combed through the mangled wreckage of a derailed train in Philadelphia after an accident that left at least six dead, as the difficult search for possible survivors continued. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescuers stand near a derailed carriage of an Amtrak train in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 13, 2015. Rescuers on May 13 combed through the mangled wreckage of a derailed train in Philadelphia after an accident that left at least six dead, as the difficult search for possible survivors continued. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescuers work around derailed carriages of an Amtrak train in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 13, 2015. Rescuers on May 13 combed through the mangled wreckage of a derailed train in Philadelphia after an accident that left at least six dead, as the difficult search for possible survivors continued. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Passengers queue infront of ticketing counters at Union Station on May 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. Rescuers on Wednesday combed through the mangled wreckage of a derailed train in Philadelphia after an accident that left at least six dead, as the difficult search for possible survivors continued. Witnesses said the front of Amtrak Train 188, heading from Washington DC to New York, shook as it went into a turn and crashed at about 9:30 pm on Tuesday (0130 GMT Wednesday). AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Information screen showing cancelled train services at the Union Station on May 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. Service has been interrupted after Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia last night, killing at least six people and injured more than 140. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Injured Amtrak passengers that were bused from to New York from Philadelphia wait at Penn Station May 13, 2015 in New York. Rescuers on Wednesday combed through the mangled wreckage of a derailed train in Philadelphia after an accident that left at least six dead, as the difficult search for possible survivors continued. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Passengers injured in an Amtrak train derailment who were bused from to New York from Philadelphia, walk through Penn Station May 13, 2015 in New York. Rescuers on Wednesday combed through the mangled wreckage of a derailed train in Philadelphia after an accident that left at least six dead, as the difficult search for possible survivors continued. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Carolan Berkeley (L), who had an Amtrak ticket to go from New York to Washington D.C., waits for a bus from New York to Washington D.C. on May 13, 2015 in New York City. An Amtrak train crash in Philadelphia last night has forced train service to be suspended between New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C., causing commuters to use NJ Transit, flights and bus services. The crash killed at least six people and injured dozens more. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
My train crashed
http://t.co/GvooK8lq58
Im on @Amtrak train that just crashed. Im ok. Helping others. Pray for those injured.
@Amtrak @msnbc @NBCNews pray for these passengers. http://t.co/mksZNy7eqo
Amtrak Northeast Regional crashes, was en route to NYC http://t.co/Faz7G48nbf http://t.co/XoLgkdBnHY
#BREAKING - At least 50 hurt in Amtrak derailment in Philly. Live video here: http://t.co/btWPTtn6HM
Multiple injuries reported after Amtrak train #188 from DC to NYC derails in #Philadelphia. Several cars overturned. http://t.co/mHFbLOv3to
Lot's of injuries at the #amtrak derailment. #Pray http://t.co/DADBYAqojg
#Amtrak crash: 50+ people injured http://t.co/IpNb3bkIzp
Amtrak train derailment. http://t.co/fAwU7MFrZC
Live picture of the triage center at 2400 Wheatsheaf for the Amtrak derailment. http://t.co/JL2XuYZfob
EMT helping survivors taking them to the hospital #amtrak #philly http://t.co/SfyFJJjNqO
FBI: nothing indicates that #Amtrak derailment linked to terrorist attack http://t.co/P2as9zyu2S
Video I took moments after crash. People trying to open the door and get off the train. http://t.co/fJ2bxXfmhG
Photos from tonight's Amtrak derailment in Port Richmond http://t.co/DIv1xCk5YU http://t.co/ZzJqcOYPGU
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"He was supposed to come home at 10:30 last night," said the mother. "And when I went online to see if it was on time it said there was a derailment and it was all plastered on TV."

By all accounts the Rockaway native was an exemplary young man. He graduated from The Channel View School for Research as valedictorian and went on to play football at the Naval Academy.

Justin's former teacher, now Assistant Principal, Joe Featherston said Justin finished his first year in Annapolis with a 4.0 grade point average and dreamed of one day becoming a Navy Seal.

"That's how I'll remember him: that he was just a simple guy, a humble guy, a helpful guy, but yet an inspiration to my students in here who needed to be directed in life," said Featherston.

Zemser was also a former intern for City Councilman Eric Ulrich who tweeted out this after learning about the tragic death:

"Justin was truly a bright, talented and patriotic young man. He will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved him."

The Naval Academy also sent out a message after learning of the death. In that message they said they are supporting Justin's family, friends, and loved ones during this time of grief.

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