As details emerge about what happened inside Sandy Hook Elementary Friday morning, we're beginning to be able to piece together a narrative, and see who was responsible for preventing any further harm. If it wasn't for these people -- big and small -- who reportedly contributed in different ways, the shooting could have been even worse. Some of them survived and some of them didn't, but what matters is they helped yesterday, and they deserve to be recognized for their contributions:
- Dawn Hochsprung, the school's principal, who was only hired two years ago and was celebrated for her ability to make the school a warm, welcoming place for student and staff alike:
At one of those of morning meetings a few days ago, Ms. Hochsprung realized Connie Malgrande, a speech pathologist, seemed a little sad. She asked Ms. Malgrande into her office, decorated with family pictures and school activities. "She said, come on in and have some candy and let's talk it over," said Ms. Malgrande. "I considered her a friend. I'm going to miss her greatly."
- Mary Sherlach, one of the six adults killed, a school psychologist who was getting ready to retire at the end of the year:
John Button, 57, a friend of Ms. Sherlach’s husband, said Ms. Sherlach was getting ready to retire.
“It was going to be her last year — that’s what she said,” he said. “She loved her job,” he added. “She’s done this for her whole career.” [...]
“It’s ironic,” Mr. Button said. “At a time when kids need help, it was the school psychologist that was sacrificed.”
- An unknown person in the principal's office who turned on the school's loudspeaker:
Someone turned the loudspeaker on, so everyone could hear what was happening in the office.
"You could hear the hysteria that was going on," Varga said. "Whoever did that saved a lot of people. Everyone in the school was listening to the terror that was transpiring."
- Kaitlin Roig, the fourth grade teacher who told her students they would get to go home for christmas, and protected them by barricading themselves in the class bathroom:
When the shooting began, Roig said she quickly got up and closed her classroom door and ushered the children, all aged 6 and 7, into the class bathroom. She helped some climb onto the toilet so they could all fit. Roig said she then pushed a wheeled storage unit in front of the door.
"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."
From the AP report:
"If they started crying, I would take their face and say it's going to be OK. Show me your smile," she said. "They said, we want to go home for Christmas. Yes, yeah. I just want to hug my mom, things like that, that were just heartbreaking."
- This six-year-old who led his friends out of class after his teacher got shot:
Robert Licata said his 6-year-old son was in class when the gunman burst in and shot the teacher. "That's when my son grabbed a bunch of his friends and ran out the door," he said. "He was very brave. He waited for his friends."
- The custodian who went from classroom-to-classroom warning of a gunman:
A custodian ran around, warning people there was a gunman, Varga said.
"He said, 'Guys! Get down! Hide!'" Varga said. "So he was actually a hero."
Did he survive? The teacher did not know.
- Maryrose Kristopik, the music teacher who barricaded herself and 20 students into a closet. She used big instruments like xylophones to block the door and protect them from Lanza:
Mrs Kristopik said: ‘I did take the children into the closet and talked with them to keep them quiet. I told them that I loved them. I said there was a bad person in the school. I didn't want to tell them anything past that.'
It had previously been reported that there were 15 children in her care, but Mrs Kristopik told MailOnline there were 20 kids in the closet and there wasn’t enough space for them.
One door had several instruments, including big xylophones, blocking it, she said.
Mrs Kristopik said she was standing in front of the other door and holding the handle to keep the children out of harm's way.
- The fourth grader who wanted to use his karate to protect his classmates:
One student claimed to know karate. "It's OK. I'll lead the way out," the student said.
- The teacher who saved this eight-year-old's life:
"I saw some of the bullets going down the hall that I was right next to and then a teacher pulled me into her classroom," the student said.
"It sounded like someone was kicking a door," he said of the bullets.
- Victoria Soto, the first grade teacher who hid her students in the bathroom and shielded them from Adam Lanza:
Victoria Soto, a first-grade teacher, died after hiding her students, a source told The Courant.
Soto was a teacher in room 10, the classroom next to where the shooting began, the source said. She hid her students — 15 or 16 of them, some possibly in a bathroom — before Lanza entered the room.
He wanted to shoot more people, the source said. But seeing no one but Soto, he shot her, then left the room.
When she became aware there was a gunman in the school, she hid her first-graders in closets and cabinets, then told the shooter they were in the gym. He turned the gun on Soto, killing her, but none of her students were harmed.
This is in no way a complete list. Every teacher, student and school official at Sandy Hook Elementary is a hero this morning. And so are the police officials forced to face and investigate the aftermath of the crime, and everyone in the families of yesterday's victims are, too. But these are the anecdotes we have of some of the braver souls of the bunch. The ones who help the rest of us get through tough situations like this one. But, of course, if we happened to miss something we implore you to email us, so we can add their names to the list.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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