NEW YORK: As stories of heroism emerge from the Connecticut school massacre two stand out. One was a first-grade teacher who reportedly threw herself in front of the gunman to shield her students. Another was a popular principal who became the first victim.
Both were among those killed when Adam Lanza, 20, stormed into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, with guns blazing on Friday, killing six adults and 20 children before killing himself.
Lanza also killed a seventh adult in the rampage — his mother, Nancy Lanza. She was killed in her home, shot in the face before her son’s assault on the school, sources told a local TV network.
With the investigation still active, few names have emerged. But those that have came with compelling stories attached.
Vicki Soto, 27, one of the adult victims, loved being a teacher, and her first-grade students’ safety was such a high priority that Soto reportedly lost her life protecting them reflected one of her colleague, in a TV interview.
“The family was informed that she was trying to shield, get her children into a closet and protect them from harm, and by doing that put herself between the gunman and the children,” said one teacher . “And that’s when she was tragically shot and killed.
Friends and family from nearby towns flocked to Newtown to share the town’s grief and offer support after a gunman rampaged through the Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 20 children and six adults.
The gunman, identified as Adam Lanza, 20, was found dead at the scene, law enforcement officials said. The body of a woman believed to be Lanza's mother was found at their home in Newtown, authorities said.
Newtown the small city of 28,000, with its tidy clapboard homes and steeple-topped churches, feels farther from New York City than the 90 minutes it takes to reach the metropolis. Residents from surrounding villages expressed similar disbelief that this most modern of crimes had intruded on their quiet corner of the world.
“It’s a picture-book, storybook town,” according to Joan Demato of nearby Brookfield, who was part of the overflow crowd that attended the St. Rose vigil, running the gantlet of news trucks bathing the church entrance with floodlights a news paper report said. . “I don’t know if there are any safe places left in this world.”
After the vigil, Monsignor Robert Weiss told reporters gathered outside that six or seven kids who had attended the church were among the 20 children who died at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“I think the families are very broken,” he said. “I’m sure that they’re still wondering and questioning. I think some of them are still hoping that this really didn’t happen. The rough days are just ahead of them.”