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Sandy Hook Heroine Victoria Soto and colleagues saved many lives as the killer Adam Lanza Struck

Sandy Hook Heroine Victoria Soto and colleagues saved many lives as the killer Adam Lanza Struck

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Published by Sophia Trammell
Tragic Killing in School.
Victoria Soto. Victoria's cousin, Jim Wiltsie, a police officer, said the 27 year old died trying to shield her pupils. "I'm just proud that Vicki had the instincts to protect her kids from harm," he said. "It brings peace to know that Vicki was doing what she loved, protecting the children, and in our eyes she's a hero."
Tragic Killing in School.
Victoria Soto. Victoria's cousin, Jim Wiltsie, a police officer, said the 27 year old died trying to shield her pupils. "I'm just proud that Vicki had the instincts to protect her kids from harm," he said. "It brings peace to know that Vicki was doing what she loved, protecting the children, and in our eyes she's a hero."

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Published by: Sophia Trammell on Dec 16, 2012
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Sandy Hook Heroine Victoria Soto andcolleagues saved many lives as the killer AdamLanza Struck 
 School employees praised as stories emerge of how they shielded their pupils
Sunday, 16 December 2012
 Above: Victoria Soto. Victoria's cousin, JimWiltsie, a police officer, said the 27?year?old died trying to shield her pupils. "I'm just proud thatVicki had the instincts to protect her kids from harm," he said. "It brings peace to know thatVicki was doing what she loved, protecting the children, and in our eyes she's a hero."
 
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Sandy Hook School shooting: 26 people, including 20 children, shot multiple times witha semi-automatic rifle by Adam LanzaWhen Adam Lanza stormed into Victoria Soto's first-grade classroom, he was armed with semi-automatic weapons with which he had already killed 20 small children. She had only hercourage, and her instinct to protect her class.Ms Soto, 27, faced the killer, and saved her children. Accounts of what happened differ. One,posted on Tumblr by a friend, says that she had bundled the class into a large closet, and told thegunman that they had gone to the gym. Another says she was found huddled over the children.Either way, Lanza shot her, and then turned the gun on himself. Her cousin, Jim Wiltsie, toldABC News: "I'm just proud that Vicki had the instincts to protect her kids from harm. It bringspeace to know that Vicki was doing what she loved, protecting the children, and in our eyes she'sa hero."She is not the only one. If anybody wanted to know the kind of people who become teachers,they need only read of the bravery of the staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It starts withthe principal, Dawn Hochsprung, who had the presence of mind to turn on the school intercom,broadcasting screaming and gunshots into every classroom, so that others had to time to takecover. "That saved a lot of people," said one teacher Theodore Varga, who survived themassacre.Ms Hochsprung was in a meeting with a parent and senior staff when Lanza began shootingnearby. At the sound of gunshots and screaming, some in her office dived for cover, but Ms
 
Hochsprung and the school's psychologist, Mary Sherlach, 56, ran out to confront Lanza,shouting back to the others to lock the door. They were both shot dead, Ms Hochsprung as shelunged at the killer.Ms Sherlach was preparing to retire, having helped hundreds of students go through familybreak-ups, bullying and events? that
 – 
until Friday
 – 
had been the toughest moments of theiryoung lives. While others hid, she and the principal ran towards the danger. The school therapistDiane Day, who was in the meeting, said: "They didn't think twice about confronting [him] orseeing what was going on." Without a lock to secure the door, another teacher at the meetingused her body to hold it shut, and was shot in the leg and arm through the door.Maryrose Kristopik, a music teacher at the school, kept 20 children safe by barricading them intoa closet. Even when the gunman battered on the door screaming: "Let me in! Let me in!" shekept her nerve and blocked the door with her own body. Mrs Kristopik said: "I did take thechildren into the closet and talked with them to keep them quiet. I told them that I loved them. Isaid there was a bad person in the school. I didn't want to tell them anything past that."One door had several instruments, including big xylophones, blocking it and she stood in front of the other holding it firm. "I was just trying to be as strong as possible," she said. "I was thinkingabout the children. I told them that we had to keep quiet and we were hiding and nobody knewwe were there. Of course I was afraid too. I wanted them to be quiet, I thought it was a prettysecure, out-of-the-way place." She led her children out only when she heard the gunshots hadstopped. Brenda Lebinski said her eight-year-old daughter was safe thanks to the teacher'sactions. "My daughter's teacher is my hero," Ms Lebinski said. "She locked all the kids in acloset and that saved their lives."Large windows left teacher Kaitlin Roig's classroom exposed, so she huddled 15 children into atiny bathroom when she first heard gunshots. The 29-year-old locked the door and pulled abookshelf across it. She said it was a struggle to get all the pupils in but she knew it was theironly option. "I put one of my students on top of the toilet. I just knew we had to get in there. Iwas just telling them they were going to be OK," she told ABC News. "I told them we had to beabsolutely quiet because I was afraid that if he did come in and hear us he would just shoot at thedoor. I said there are bad guys out there now. We need to wait for the good guys."Thinking these might be their last moments alive, she assumed the role of a parent. "I said, 'Ineed you to know that I love you all very much and it's going to be OK'. Because I thought wewere all going to die. I wanted them to know someone loved them and I wanted that to be the lastthing they heard." When the police arrived to tell them it was safe to come out, Ms Roig was sofrightened she made them put their badges under the door so she could be sure it was them. Onlythen did she lead the children out to safety.Another teacher, Abbey Clements, acted quickly to save lives. When she heard gunshots outsideher classroom she initially thought they might be folding chairs, left out for a concert, fallingover. But when she looked outside she was confronted with a very different scene. "When Ipoked my head out the door and saw the custodian [janitor] running to the front of the building Irealised they were shots," she said. She pulled two students and two other teachers who werestanding in the hall through her door to hide them. "We corralled those two kids into myclassroom to stay with me. We went into lockdown, which meant that I ran to get the keys andtold the kids to sit in the place where we practised for emergencies."It was even scary to lock the door because I had to open the door back up and put my hand out
 – 
 because the lock is on the outside
 – 
and then come back into the closet area," ?Ms Clementsadded. Trying to calm the ?children, she attempted to muffle the haunting sounds of gunshots

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