Remembering The Heroes of The Sandy Hook Shooting

As with most tragedies, there are always heroes. The shooting that took place yesterday is no different. In the midst of horror, death and destruction, there emerges people who think of others rather than their own safety. Those stories are emerging and many are incredible tales of bravery.

Take for instance 27-year-old teacher Victoria Soto. She had been teaching at the school for only five years. When the alleged gunman Adam Lanza began shooting, Soto took her kids and hid them in the closet. Upon entering the room, Lanza demanded to know where the children were and Soto told him they were in the gym. He then murdered her on the spot. Not one of the children she died protecting was harmed.

Ms. Soto’s cousin, Jim Wiltsie, said: “She put herself between the gunman and the children and that’s when she was tragically shot and killed.

“I’m just proud that Vicki had the instincts to protect her kids from harm. It brings peace to know that Vicki was doing what she loved, protecting the children and in our eyes she’s a hero," he added.

Forty-seven-year-old Dawn Hachsprung, the school principal, along with 56-year-old Mary Sherlach, the school psychologist reportedly ran towards the gunfire in an attempt to stop the gunman. According to Diane Day, a school therapist,

"We were there for about five minutes chatting, and we heard Pop! Pop!, Pop!" Day said.

"I went under the table."

Dawn Hochsprung (up), Victoria Soto (left) and Mary Sherlash (right)

But Hochsprung and the psychologist leaped out of their seats and ran out of the room, Day recalled. "They didn't think twice about confronting or seeing what was going on," she said.

Both women were murdered execution style when they confronted Adam Lanza.

While each of these women should be considered heroes, one should not forget that heroes don't always die.

First grade teacher Kaitlin Roig protected fifteen children entrusted to her. Upon hearing the shots, Roig rushed the children to the class bathroom. She then barricaded the door with a bookshelf.

"It was horrific," she said. "I didn't think we were going to live."

"We all got in there. I locked us in," she said. "I don't know if [the gunman] came in the room... I just told them we have to be absolutely quiet."

"If they started crying, I would take their face and tell them, 'It's going to be OK,'" Roig continued. "I wanted that to be the last thing they heard, not the gunfire in the hall."

"I thought we were all going to die," she said through tears. "I told the kids I love them and I was so happy they were my students... I said anyone who believed in the power of the prayer, we need to pray and those who don't believe in prayer" think happy thoughts.

Finally when the gunfire stopped, which Roig said did not last very long, she refused to take the kids from the bathroom. When police began to knock on the door she refused to open the door, not knowing for sure who they were. "I didn't believe them," she said. "I told them if they were cops, they could get the key... They did and then unlocked the bathroom."

In the midst of the loss, I'm sure there are many parents who are and should be very grateful to these women for protecting their sons and daughters.

Watch the interview with Ms. Roig below:

UPDATE: The following is a list of all those who were killed in the Sandy Hook Shooting. Among them are eight boys and 12 girls, along with 6 female adults.

Charlotte Bacon, 02-22-06
Daniel Barden, 09-25-05
Rachel Davino, 07-17-83
Olivia Engel, 07-18-06
Josephine Gay, 12-11-05
Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 04-04-06
Dylan Hockley, 03-08-06
Dawn Hochsprung, 06-28-65
Madeleine F. Hsu, 07-10-06
Catherine V. Hubbard, 06-08-06
Chase Kowalski, 10-31-05
Jesse Lewis, 06-30-06
James Mattioli, 03-22-06
Grace McDonnell, 11-04-05
Anne Marie Murphy, 07-25-60
Emilie Parker, 05-12-06
Jack Pinto, 05-06-06
Noah Pozner, 11-20-06
Caroline Previdi, 09-07-06
Jessica Rekos, 05-10-06
Avielle Richman, 10-17-06
Lauren Russeau, 06-?-82
Mary Sherlach, 02-11-56
Victoria Soto, 11-04-85
Benjamin Wheeler, 09-12-06
Allison Wyatt, 07-03-06

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  • vet

    From Fabain4Liberty:

    The father of Newtown Connecticut school shooter Adam Lanza is Peter
    Lanza who is a VP and Tax Director at GE Financial. The father of Aurora
    Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes is Robert Holmes, the lead
    scientist for the credit score company FICO. Both men were to testify
    before the US Sentate in the ongoing LIBOR scandal. The London Interbank
    Offered Rate, known as Libor, is the average interest rate at which
    banks can borrow from each other. 16 international banks have been
    implicated in this ongoing scandal, accused of rigging contracts worth
    trillions of dollars. HSBC has already been fined $1.9 billion and three
    of their low level traders arrested.

    Ladies and gentlemen, we have a motive and a link. This coincidence is impossible to overlook. Two mass shootings connected to LIBOR.

  • Jay

    What. s a psychologist doing in an elementary school? ah sign of the times... they weren t heroes,they were just victims,...part of me is sorry but part of me thinks they had no clue how to fight back...hide in a corner at the mercy of circumstance... for crispssake that. s no hero,that s one hell of a lucky prey.

  • twiceshy

    These were brave women and should be honored as such. The only other thing I would like to hear is that the women were armed and when confronted shot this evil demon. We can never take away all the guns from bad people, but we sure as heck can arm the good ones.
    Remember 9/11 happened when determined evil doers had nothing but box cutters and they caused the death of over 3000.

    • Dave P.

      Not to mention the fact that our pilots aren't armed.

      Israel's definitely had the right approach on these things: Airplane gets hijacked? Arm the pilots. Someone attacks a school bus? Arm the drivers. Such things don't seem to happen there so often now.

  • The Blue Collar Man

    The aftermath for survivors and responders, in traumatic incidents such as this, can't be fathomed by people who haven't experienced horrific events. It will last for years, and no doubt, many of the children will be affected their entire life by sudden loud noises. It can be very hard to suffer through. Some may ultimately falter, later in life.

    I once was involved on the good side of an incident, preventing a person from likely fatal harm. Surprisingly, I suffered a 2 week depression after. A year later, exposed to the exact same innocent setting, with the same noises, I nearly went crazy trying to get away. Took ten years to conquer my fears. The mind can be your worst enemy.
    I hope all survivors involved seek mental help, and not try to "tough" it out.

    • Timflowers6

      God bless you and I wish you peace..

    • The Blue Collar Man

      Thank you for your kind thought. I will add, this year was the least I thought about that day, some 43 years ago.

  • willgoos

    My prayers go out to all of the children, teachers, the principle, and those poor devastated parents. We must also pray for those State and local police officers, EMT's, Firemen, and other rescue personel who had to deal with all that horror inside the school. As the father of four daughters, now grown, it is hard to concieve the grief those parents are going through. I was born and grew up in Ct. We came to Sandy Hook to buy fireworks at what is now the firehouse. I have a camper in Ct. where I still spend 5 months a year there. Although I winter in Florida, i still consider Ct. people as MY people.

    • Jay

      Why feel sorry at all?!?!? This is the society the schools have created,my kids are exposed to this danger zones we call school,this won t happen to my kids though, but evil roams our schools freely and protected by the authorities,it wo. t be the last time.

  • stillpraying

    my God comfort the family's in Jesus name

  • Dave P.

    This is the kind of article I like to see. May those poor souls and their families find comfort.