Sandy Hook massacre: tales of teachers' heroism

Stories are emerging of how the teachers of Sandy Hook elementary school tried to protect their pupils as a gunman rampaged through corridors and classrooms, firing unceasingly.

 

The Daily Mail interviewed Maryrose Kristopik who

said she barricaded herself in a closet with the nine- and 10-year-olds while Adam Lanza banged on the door, screaming: “Let me in! Let me in!”

Maryrose Kristpik kept out Adam Lanza

Maryrose Kristpik kept out Adam Lanza

With the gunman just inches away, Kristopik blocked the door and held the handle.

“I was just trying to be as strong as possible,” she said. “I was thinking about the children. I told them that we had to keep quiet and we were hiding and nobody knew we were there.”

‘Of course I was afraid too,’” Maryrose Kristopik added. “I wanted them to be quiet, I thought it was a pretty secure out of the way place.”

 

 

The Wall Street Journal revealed:

Diane Day, a therapist at the school, was sitting with the principal, a parent and other staff members for a meeting when she heard gunshots.

 

"At first we heard a bunch of kids scream, and then it was just quiet and all you could hear was the shooting," Ms. Day said.

Principal Dawn Hochsprung and the school psychologist leapt from their seats and ran out to help, Ms. Day said. "They didn't think twice about confronting or seeing what was going on," she said.

Without a lock to secure the door, a teacher at the meeting pressed her body against the door to hold it shut, Ms. Day said. That teacher was shot through the door in the leg and arm. "She was our hero," Ms. Day said.

 

A relative of teacher Victoria Soto told ABC News that she died putting herself between the gunman and her pupils.

'She put herself between the gunman and the children and that's when she was tragically shot and killed,' Jim Wiltsie said. 

'I'm just proud that Vicki had the instincts to protect her kids from harm,' he continued. 

'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.

 

 

USA Today reported:

Fourth-grader Bear Nikitchyuk was heading back to his classroom when he heard someone kicking a door. "I looked behind me and all I saw was smoke and I smelled smoke. I heard shots fired. The second grade teacher grabbed me and pulled me into her room."

The unidentified teacher locked the door and huddled about 20 kids in cubbie closets until police banged on the door. The teacher first balked at letting the police in until she was convinced they were police. The children eventually exited out the school's back door.

ABC news wrote:

First grade teacher Kaitlin Roig, 29, locked her 14 students in a class bathroom and listened to "tons of shooting" until police came to help.

"It was horrific," Roig said. "I thought we were going to die."

She said that the terrified kids were saying, "I just want Christmas…I don't want to die. I just want to have Christmas."

 

The New York Times reported:

One 9-year-old student said he was in the gym when the shooting erupted.

“We were in the gym, and I heard really loud bangs,'’ said the boy, as he stood shivering and weeping outside the school with his father’s arms draped around him. “We thought that someone was knocking something over. And we heard yelling, and we heard gunshots. We heard lots of gunshots. We heard someone say, ‘Put your hands up.’ I heard, ‘Don’t shoot.’ We had to go into the closet in the gym. Then someone came and told us to run down the hallway. There were police at every door. There were lots of people crying and screaming.'’

Another student at the school told an NBC affiliate in Connecticut: “I was in the gym and I heard like seven loud booms, and the gym teachers told us to go in the corner and we huddled. We all heard these booming noises, and we started crying. So the gym teachers told us to go into the office where no one could find us. Then a police officer told us to run outside.”

Dawn Hochsprung appears to have been killed after confronting the gunman

Dawn Hochsprung appears to have been killed after confronting the gunman

Teacher Carrie Usher spoke to the Wall Street Journal:  

“We just heard so much gunfire. It was unbelievable,” Ms. Usher said. “The gunfire was just unbelievable it felt like it lasted for five minutes. It wouldn’t stop.”

The teacher added: “My friend looks out the door and smelled gunpowder, and he said we’ve got to get out of here and we’ve got to get out of here fast because we had no lock and nowhere to hide, and there was a window in our door so he could see us.”

Three of the teachers jumped out the window of their meeting room, Ms. Usher said, while the fourth remained behind and hid behind bags and boxes. The door opened and someone came in but that person didn’t see the hiding teacher.

“Gunfire was apparently right behind us, and we’re just happy to be alive today,” Ms. Usher said. The teachers returned to the school with police afterwards to see if their students were safe, and she said none had been harmed. “We stayed until all of our kids were accounted for and picked up.”

The BBC reported:

 Son: I saw some of the bullets going past the hall that I was right next to and then a teacher pulled me into her classroom.

Mother: I'm just so grateful to the teacher who saved him.

Reporter: You think the teacher saved his life?

Mother: She definitely did. He had bullets going by him and she grabbed him and another child and pulled him into a classroom.