The innocent children murdered in their school that day would now be 14 or 15 years old.
On Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, Orange Live was just 7 months old. I’d promised readers that I would stick to the town of Orange and had kept my promise until 9:37 a.m. when I first heard about the murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Everything that I reported that day came from former colleagues at the scene, one who was a good friend of Dawn Hochsprung, the school’s principal.
Although I could have grabbed a press pass and made my way up there, but first responders had enough going on and from the sound of their voices as they relayed their information to me, I knew that it was not necessary for me to be on the scene to feel the sadness and horror of a sicko murdering children and teachers in what everyone thought was a safe place.
I have never mentioned the murderer’s name, nor will I now, because that monster and its non-motive for killing the innocent should not be given any attention. But the principal, teachers, and little children should never be forgotten.
The monster started its morning by killing its mother in their home. Five minutes later at 9:35 a.m. it shot its way through a glass panel next to the locked front entrance doors of the school and was confronted by Dawn Hocksprung, School Psychologist Mary Sherlach, and Lead Teacher Natalie Hammond, who left a meeting to investigate. He killed Hockspring and Sherlach and wounded Hammond.
A school custodian, Rick Thorne ran through the school warning classrooms of the danger.
The monster forced his way into a first-grade classroom where substitute teacher Lauren Rousseau was trying to hide her tiny students in a bathroom. Rousseau and Rachel D’Avino a behavioral therapist, who was only there for the week were killed along with 15 students. Only one 6-year-old girl survived by lying still and playing dead — although she has to live with the horror of what she heard and saw that day.
The murderer then burst into Victoria Soto’s first-grade classroom. She’d hidden her students in a closet and tried to re-direct the shooter by telling him her class was in the auditorium on the other side of the school. The madman shot her, teacher’s aide Anne Marie Murphy, and five children. What exactly happened is not clear, but for some reason, the monster stopped shooting (possibly because the rifle jammed) and nine children were able to run from the classroom to safety. Police later found two surviving children who had hidden in a bathroom.
A few years ago I met Vicki’s father at a restaurant in Orange. He told me that his daughter was supposed to have the day off, but decided to go in that morning.
So, today, let’s take a few moments to remember the heroes, first responders, and the victims and their families and pray that even though many of our legislators are owned by the NRA and refuse to make changes, that senseless gun violence can be stopped. Enough is enough.
Think about these innocent children and the terror they felt, calling for their mommies’ and sobbing as the merciless monster shot them and their friends.
Charlotte Bacon, 6, Daniel Barden, 7, Olivia Engel, 6, Josephine Gay, 7, Dylan Hockley, 6, Madeleine Hsu, 6, Catherine Hubbard, 6, Chase Kowalski, 7, Jesse Lewis, 6, Ana Márquez-Greene, 6, James Mattioli, 6, Grace McDonnell, 7, Emilie Parker, 6, Jack Pinto, 6, Noah Pozner, 6, Caroline Previdi, 6, Jessica Rekos, 6, Avielle Richman, 6, Benjamin Wheeler, 6, and Allison Wyatt, 6.
You will never be forgotten.