NEWTOWN, Conn. - The horror wrought by a lone
gunman on this close-knit community is becoming clear as more details
emerge about the victims.
Among the dead were the educators who
were hailed as heroes - the school's principal and psychologist, who
didn't hesitate to rush toward the sound of the gunfire, and the
first-grade teacher who used her body to shield her tiny charges from
the bullets. Six of the victims were adults.
The young victims -
20 in all - epitomized the children of that age, bright, smiling faces,
some of them missing their front teeth. Most of them were first-graders.
All of them died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to state medical examiner H. Wayne Carver II.
The victims included:
Charlotte Bacon, 6
were supposed to be for the holidays, but finally on Friday, after
hearing much begging, Charlotte Bacon's mother relented and let her wear
the new pink dress and boots to school.
It was the last outfit
the outgoing redhead would ever pick out. Charlotte's older brother,
Guy, was also in the school, but was not shot.
Her parents, JoAnn and Joel, had lived in Newtown for four or five years, JoAnn's brother John Hagen, of Nisswa, Minn., told Newsday.
was going to go some places in this world," Hagen told the newspaper.
"This little girl could light up the room for anyone."
Daniel Barden, 7
Barden was a "sweet boy" who was on the swim team, liked to play
soccer, and "earned his ripped jeans and missing two front teeth,"
according to a statement by his parents and published reports.
was one of three children, the younger son of Mark Barden, a musician
who frequently plays in the Newtown area, and Jacqueline Barden, an
elementary school teacher. Mark Barden's professional website features a
photo of Daniel laughing on the lap of his older brother, James, with
his sister, Natalie, standing behind them. Another photo shows the
cherubic-faced little boy laughing and refers to him as "Daniel the
A man who answered the telephone Sunday morning at the Barden home said the family was not taking media calls.
really cannot express what a special boy Daniel was. Such a light.
Always smiling, unfailingly polite, incredibly affectionate, fair and so
thoughtful towards others, imaginative in play, both intelligent and
articulate in conversation; in all, a constant source of laughter and
joy," a statement from the family reads. "Daniel was fearless in his
pursuit of happiness and life. ... Despite that, he was, as his mother
said, 'Just So Good.' He embodied everything that is wholesome and
innocent in the world."
Karin LaBanca, 41, told the website The
Political Freakshow that her daughter, Maggie, 8, rode the school bus
with Daniel. Maggie said her friend liked to play football and soccer.
The website also reports Daniel was on the Sandy Hook School swim team.
Barden's page on the website of the Pawling Elementary School in
Pawling, N.Y., says the family enjoys "reading, music and hanging with
our pet ball python, Todd and our tortoise, Queenie."
Rachel Davino, 29
Rachel Davino, a teacher's aide at Sandy Hook, loved to cook, said her grandmother, Nicoletta Davino, of Waterbury, Conn.
The elder Davino said her granddaughter would visit her and she would share recipes from her native Italy.
of the time, she'd come to my house and say, 'I love you, grandma,' "
said Nicoletta Davino, 76. "We'd cook together. She liked to cook. She
liked all of my recipes."
Rachel Davino, who lived in New Britain,
Conn., especially liked to make lasagna and tomato sauce. "Every year,
we'd make tomato sauce together," Nicoletta Davino said.
who was not married, was a friendly young woman who had recently worked
hard to earn her degree, her grandmother said, though she did not know
from what school. "She'd go to school all the time," Nicoletta Davino
No one answered the phone at Rachel Davino's home Sunday. A
soft-spoken voice apparently belonging to Rachel Davino was on the voice
A guest on Davino's page on the Legacy.com site wrote, "I will always remember your sweet smile!"
Olivia Engel, 6
images of Olivia Engel will live far beyond her short lifetime. There
she is, visiting with Santa Claus, or feasting on a slice of birthday
cake. There's the one of her swinging a pink baseball bat, and another
posing on a boat. In some, she models a pretty white dress; in others,
she makes a silly face.
Dan Merton, a longtime friend of the
girl's family, says he could never forget the child, and he has much to
say when he thinks of her.
"She loved attention," he said. "She had perfect manners, perfect table manners. She was the teacher's pet, the line leader."
On Friday, Merton said, she was simply excited to go to school and then return home and make a gingerbread house.
"Her only crime," he said, "is being a wiggly, smiley 6-year-old."
Josephine Gay, 7
Josephine Gay turned 7 three days before the shooting massacre at the Sandy Hook School.
woman who answered the phone at the Gay home said the family was not up
to talking but that a lawyer would soon be releasing information on the
little girl. Neighbors who knew Josephine declined to talk out of
respect for the family.
In a photo circulating widely across the
Internet and on news organization websites, the little girl is wearing a
gap-toothed grin and balancing what looks like a traffic cone on her
head and glasses on the very tip of her nose.
A guest on the
website Legacy.com wrote on Josephine's page, "This photo shows your
sweet fun personality. You will be missed and thought of always."
Dylan Hockley, 6
While living in the United Kingdom in March 2009, Nicole Hockley pondered about the meaning of home.
had been overseas for more than 16 years and was thinking about showing
her boys the "dee-lites" of the U.S. she said on her @NicoleHockley
In thinking about it, she decided that it didn't matter where she lived, as long as her husband and sons were around her.
"Home is where the people you love are," she wrote. "So I guess I am home."
But now the Hockley home life is shattered.
husband, Ian, and their sons, Jake and Dylan, recently moved back to
the U.S. and settled into a well-kept neighborhood in Newtown.
neighborhood of large houses with well-manicured lawns and tasteful
holiday decorations also was home to others in this tragedy.
The shooter Adam Lanza and his mother Nancy - who he fatally shot at home - lived on their street.
Former school bus driver Marsha Moskowitz had that route. She remembers the Hockley family well.
"Dylan, when he saw the bus coming he would wave his hands with such excitement and joy," she says.
was proud to be Dylan's big brother, she said. Their father, Ian, was
very involved, and Nicole was a wonderful, caring mom, she said.
The family didn't return calls for comment, but Dylan's grandmother, Theresa Moretti, told London's Daily Mail that the family had moved to the U.S. "for a better life."
said they chose that town to live in "specifically because the school
was so good," Moretti said. "My daughter told me, "It's safe and lovely
And even before they returned to the U.S., photos on Nicole's Twitter feed show happy family times together.
pictures she posted in 2009 show the family smiling. One, which Nicole
labeled "Super Dylan!" shows her blue-eyed son happily smiling while
wearing a Superman shirt.
'Dylan was a lovely boy," Theresa Moretti said in the Daily Mail.
"He had dimples and blue eyes and a mischievous grin. He loved playing
Wii and they had a trampoline in their garden. He loved garlic bread and
his brother. We are shattered and will never be the same.'
Dawn Hochsprung, 47, principal
Hochsprung was known for her enthusiasm, frank opinions and love of
teaching. Hochsprung, 47, a veteran teacher and administrator, worked at
the school for two years, where those who knew her say she immediately
became a beloved figure. Board of Education chairwoman for the Newtown
public schools Debbie Liedlien says residents are feeling "a deep sense
of loss" over her death.
Town officials say Hochsprung was killed while lunging at the gunman as she tried to overtake him.
would expect her to jump right into the chaos," said neighbor Judith
Neukam(cq--didn't want to give age). "I think she would have felt
responsible for it and she would have taken that responsibility."
friend Fraser Randolph, 60, of Danbury, has known Hochsprung and her
husband, George, for more than 15 years. He said Hochsprung and her
husband, who is also a teacher, often talked about educational policies
over dinner with him.
"She was always talking about
education--always looking for ways to solve problems, communicate better
with parents and break down administrative barriers to better serve the
needs of kids," Randolph said.
Madeleine Hsu, 6
Velsmid, a physician, was at Madeleine's house on Saturday, tending to
her stricken family. He said the family did not want to comment.
said that after hearing of the shooting, he went to the triage area to
provide medical assistance but there were no injuries to treat.
were waiting for casualties to come out, and there was nothing. There
was no need, unfortunately," he said. "This is the darkest thing I've
ever walked into, by far."
Velsmid's daughter, who attends another school, lost three of her friends.
Catherine Violet Hubbard, 6
parents of the 6-year-old redhead with a wide-smile and freckles issued
a statement Sunday expressing their profound grief over her death.
are greatly saddened by the loss of our beautiful daughter, Catherine
Violet and our thoughts and prayers are with the other families who have
been affected by this tragedy," Jennifer and Matthew Hubbard said in
"We appreciate the overwhelming support from our
community that we have received over the past 24 hours," they said. "We
have no further statement to make at this time and ask that we be
afforded the opportunity to grieve with our friends and family.
"We ask that you continue to pray for us and the other families who have experienced loss in this tragedy."
Chase Kowalski, 7
Kowalski was always outside, playing in the backyard or riding his
bicycle. Just last week, he was visiting neighbor Kevin Grimes, telling
him about completing - and winning - his first mini-triathlon.
"You couldn't think of a better child," Grimes said.
own five children all attended Sandy Hook, too. Cars lined up outside
the Kowalskis' ranch home Saturday, and a state trooper's car idled in
the driveway. Grimes spoke of the boy only in the present tense.
Nancy Lanza, 52, gunman's mother
once was known simply for the game nights she hosted and the holiday
decorations she put up at her house. Now Nancy Lanza is known as her
son's first victim.
Authorities say her 20-year-old son Adam
gunned her down before killing 26 others at Sandy Hook. The two shared a
home in a well-to-do Newtown neighborhood, but details were slow to
emerge of who she was and what might have led her son to carry out such
Kingston, N.H., Police Chief Donald Briggs Jr. said Nancy
Lanza once lived in the community and was a kind, considerate and loving
person. The former stockbroker at John Hancock in Boston was
well-respected, Briggs said.
Court records show Lanza and her
ex-husband, Peter Lanza, filed for divorce in 2008. He lives in Stamford
and is a tax director at General Electric. A neighbor, Rhonda Cullens,
said she knew Nancy Lanza from get-togethers she had hosted to play
Bunco, a dice game. She said her neighbor had enjoyed gardening.
"She was a very nice lady," Cullens said. "She was just like all the rest of us in the neighborhood, just a regular person."
friend Louise Tambascio says Nancy Lanza spent one or two nights a week
at her bar My Place, but she rarely talked about Adam or her divorce.
"She came here to relax," he said. "Her children were private."
has known Lanza for 12 years. She said Lanza was an avid Red Sox fan
and often bought tickets to games for friends. "We used to have great
times," she said. "She was a friend to me."
Tambascio described Lanza's collection of guns as "a hobby."
said Nancy Lanza "had nothing to do with what her son did. She's a good
person, good-hearted. She would do anything for you."
did not have to work, she devoted her free time to charity, including
benefits for cancer and Special Olympics, Tambascio said.
"She had a beautiful personality, a great sense of humor," Tambascio said.
Jesse Lewis, 6
Jesse Lewis loved math and horse-back riding. The 6-year-old was in Soto's class, his father Neil Heslin told the New York Post.
"He was just a happy boy," Heslin told the paper.
lived on a horse farm, Wild Rose Farm, with his mother. He loved to
play with the animals on the farm and had been horseback riding since he
was 1 and 1/2 years old.
Neighbor Judy Petro said she
occasionally saw Jesse riding with his mother, Scarlett, as the pair cut
through the Petros' property to reach a horse trail in the
"They rode horses, and we gave her permission to
ride through our land to get to the trail that the horses go on. Once in
a while her son came with her. She's a very nice woman and very
generous. It's just horrible that it happened. The whole thing is just
unbelievable,'' Petro said.
Another neighbor, Irene Arfaras,
described Scarlett Lewis as "very friendly'' and "a hard worker'' for
running the farm in addition to a day job.
Scarlett Lewis is the author of Rose's Foal,
a children's book she wrote about a draft horse and how she teaches her
foal about life. In an author's note on Amazon, she said she wrote the
book about the foal, born the day after 9/11, in honor of her sons.
described taking photographs for the book with her son "in a red Flyer
Wagon with his blanket and pacifier waiting patiently in the
background.'' What Lewis wrote about the now deceased draft horse could
now be said about her own child: "We miss her dearly every day, and this
book also helps keep her memory alive. Of course we look forward to
seeing her in heaven."
Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
the daughter of jazz saxophonist Jimmy Greene. She, her parents and
older brother moved to Newtown this summer from Manitoba, Canada, where
Greene taught music. Greene thanked friends on Facebook, according to
the Ottawa Citizen. "As we work through this nightmare, we're
reminded how much we're loved and supported on this earth and by our
Father in heaven. As much as she's needed here and missed by her mother,
brother and me, Ana beat us all to paradise. I love you sweetie girl,"
his post said.
James Mattioli, 6
The Upstate New York
town of Sherrill is thinking of Cindy Mattioli, who grew up there and
lost her son James in the school shooting in Connecticut.
"It's a terrible tragedy, and we're a tight community," Mayor William Vineall told the Utica Observer-Dispatch. "Everybody will be there for them, and our thoughts and prayers are there for them."
James' grandparents, Jack and Kathy Radley, still live in the city, the newspaper reported.
Horvath, who left the school 20 minutes before the shooter entered,
runs a before-and-after school program for the children. Four
6-year-olds who lost their lives were in the program, including James.
"James was a sweetheart of a kid with such an innocent face."
Grace Audrey McDonnell, 7
7-year-old with the pretty blonde hair and ice blue eyes was a "girly
girl" who loved playing dress-up with her grandmother's jewelry and
wearing pink, her grandmother Mary Ann McDonnell, of Shelton, Conn.,
told the Boston Herald. Grace, her parents Lynn and Christopher
and her brother, Jack, 12, planned to gather at the grandmother's home
after Christmas, as they always have, she said.
Grace loved art
projects, soccer and gymnastics, adored her King Charles Spaniel,
Puddin', her grandmother said. Grace's father commuted about 90 minutes
to work in New Jersey every day because the family loved living in the
community so much, his mother said.
In a statement, the family
said, "We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from so
many people. Our daughter Grace was the love and light of our family.
Words cannot adequately express our sense of loss."
Anne Marie Murphy, 52, teacher
A happy soul. A good mother, wife and daughter. Artistic, fun-loving, witty and hardworking.
their daughter, Anne Marie Murphy, her parents had no shortage of
adjectives to offer. When news of the shooting broke, Hugh and Alice
McGowan waited for word of their daughter as hours ticked by. And then
Police told the couple their daughter was a hero who
helped shield some of her students from the rain of bullets. As the grim
news arrived, the victim's mother reached for her rosary.
"You don't expect your daughter to be murdered," her father told Newsday. "It happens on TV. It happens elsewhere."
Murphy, the mother of four, was raised in Katonah, NY.
Her parents, Hugh and Alice McGowan, told The Journal News in Westchester, N.Y., that she was a terrific woman who was smart and dedicated.
She was an artistic, fun-loving painter who was "witty" and "hardworking," Hugh McGowan told Newsday.
"She was a happy soul," said her mother, Alice McGowan. "She was a very good daughter, a good mother, a good wife.
"I'll miss her presence," added Alice McGowan. "She died doing what she loved. She was serving children and serving God."
Emilie Parker, 6
Parker was a blonde blue-eyed first-grader, an artist who always toted
around her crayons and paper. She was a big sister to two younger
sisters who always turned to her for comfort.
In an emotional
press conference, Emilie's father, Robert, described the last
conversation he had with his eldest daughter. He was teaching her
Portuguese, and she asked him how he was doing.
"She told me she
loved me, and I walked out the door," he said. Robert Parker kept his
composure as he spoke but became emotional as he described how his two
younger girls always turned to Emilie when they needed comfort.
"She was the type of person who could light up a room," he said. "She is an incredible person and I'm so blessed to be her dad."
Parker said he didn't know how he and his wife would get through this tragedy.
and his family moved to Newtown eight months ago when he accepted a job
as a physician assistant in the neonatal intensive care unit at the
Danbury hospital. He said he was at the hospital when he heard about the
shooting from his wife. He said at first he thought it couldn't have
been very serious, but as the day wore on, the enormity of it hit him,
"I don't know how to get through this," he said.
Facebook page created by the family shows Emilie at baseball games with
her father and watching over her younger sisters. The family plans to
return her remains to Utah, where they are originally from.
Jack Armistead Pinto, 6
Jack Pinto was a sports fan. His obituary in the Newtown Bee
said the first-grader participated in all kinds of sports, including
flag football, baseball, basketball, wrestling, and snow skiing."
love of football was remembered by New York Giants wide-receiver Victor
Cruz, who dedicated Sunday's game to Jack, after learning he had been a
huge fan. Cruz wrote a "RIP Jack Pinto" on a pair of cleats before
Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons, and said he planned to give
them to the family.
"Jack was an incredibly loving and vivacious
young boy," appreciated "for his lively and giving spirit and steely
determination," says the newspaper obituary. "In life as in death Jack
will forever be remembered for the immeasurable joy he brought to all
who had the pleasure of knowing him, a joy whose wide reach belied his
six short years."
In addition to his parents, Dean and Tricia (Volkmann) Pinto, Jack's survivors include his brother Benjamin.
Noah Pozner, 6
was "smart as a whip," gentle but with a rambunctious streak, said his
uncle, Alexis Haller of Woodinville, Wash. Noah's twin sister Arielle,
assigned to a different classroom, survived the shooting. He called her
his best friend, and with their 8-year-old sister, Sophia, they were
"They were always playing together, they loved to do
things together," Haller said. When his mother, a nurse, would tell him
she loved him, he would answer, "Not as much as I love you, Mom."
said Noah loved to read and liked to figure out how things worked
mechanically. For his birthday two weeks ago, he got a new Wii.
was just a really lively, smart kid," Haller said. "He would have
become a great man, I think. He would have grown up to be a great dad."
Pozner was at work at Grove Hill Medical Center in New Britain, 38
miles from the Sandy Hook school, administering chemotherapy to cancer
patients when a patient got an alert about the Sandy Hook shootings,
said Doreen Berube, the office administrator. Pozner, an oncology nurse,
came to Berube and said simply, "I've got to go.''
day, Berube and the other nurses at the oncology office received
periodic heartbreaking texts from Pozner, who went to the firehouse to
find her children: Noah, his twin sister and an older daughter. The
girls were reunited with their mother, but Pozner could not find Noah.
At about 4 p.m., Pozner texted the office that she was with a state
trooper, waiting for Gov. Dannel Malloy. Then, Berube said, "we knew he
Pozner, a single mom, has five children, including a
daughter in college and a son in high school, a daughter at Sandy Hook
and Noah's twin sister. "They were everything. They are everything to
her," Berube said.
Noah's funeral is Monday at
Green's Funeral Home in Fairfield. The Jet Blue airline is helping his
relatives in Seattle get notes to the family in Newtown so the notes can
be buried with the boy, according to a tweet by the company.
Avielle Richman, 6
was a dark-haired beauty who loved to read. Her favorite books were the
Harry Potter books and her favorite color was red, according to a blog
called Avielle's Adventures. The blog is all about Avielle. It features a
photo of the little girl, barefoot and dressed in a red, white and
black dress, on a post about her birthday in October. The blog says
Avielle celebrated her birthday with her friends and a party at the Zoar
Ridge Stables, where she took riding lessons twice a week. Her training
pony was named Betty.
One of her summertime hobbies is archery,
which she was excited about because of the movie Brave, that featured a
princess who was an archer.
In one blog post from August, her
parents write about how excited and nervous they are about Avielle's
first day of first grade at Sandy Hook elementary school.
"We can't believe it ... Our little hummingbird is starting first grade tomorrow."
In another post, it says her dream car is a minivan.
Her family could not be reached. A man who answered the family's phone began to sob and said, "I'm not good. I have to go."
Lauren Gabrielle Rousseau, 30, teacher
Rousseau had spent years working as a substitute teacher and doing
other jobs. So she was thrilled when she finally realized her goal this
fall to become a full-time teacher at Sandy Hook.
Her mother, Teresa Rousseau, a copy editor at the Danbury News-Times, released a statement Saturday that said state police told them just after midnight that she was among the victims.
wanted to be a teacher from before she even went to kindergarten," she
said. "We will miss her terribly and will take comfort knowing that she
had achieved that dream."
Her mother said she was thrilled to get the job.
"It was the best year of her life," she told the newspaper.
Rousseau has been called gentle, spirited and active. She had planned to see The Hobbit
with her boyfriend Friday and had baked cupcakes for a party they were
to attend afterward. She was born in Danbury, and attended Danbury High,
University of Connecticut and went on to graduate school at the
University of Bridgeport.
She was a lover of music, dance and theater.
"I'm used to having people die who are older," her mother said, "not the person whose room is up over the kitchen."
Mary Sherlach, 56, school psychologist
Mary Sherlach spent most of her professional life trying to help kids from taking a wrong turn.
school psychologist at the Sandy Hook Elementary School since August
1994, she worked closely with students, parents and teachers.
I "am always ready to assist in problem solving, intervention and prevention," Sherlach, 56, wrote on her professional website.
She died while trying to protect others, Diane Day, a therapist who works at the school, told The Wall Street Journal.
reached at Scherlach's home in Trumbull, Conn., a friend of the family
read a statement that was written by Scherlach's daughter Maura
"There are no words to describe the devastating loss
that we feel at this time," it said. "Our family has lost a loving
mother, dedicated wife and above all, a wonderful, caring woman who was
beyond dedicated to her students."
Victoria Soto, 27, teacher
Sotowas known as Miss Victoria Soto in Room 10, a smiling teacher who
underscored her enthusiasm over teaching first-graders with exclamation
On her page on the school's website, she wrote: "I
absolutely love teaching first grade!'' and "I look forward to an
amazing year in first grade with my amazing students of room 10!"
Soto's lifelong dream was to be a teacher.
"She was all about molding those young minds," her cousin, James Wiltsie, told ABC News.
27-year-old died in the classroom she loved, reportedly making the
ultimate sacrifice Friday by sheltering her students in a classroom
closet and coming between them and the gunman, Wiltsie said.
It's not clear how many of Soto's students died.
Gillian Chanko is now 13 and in 8th grade but remembers Soto as a young teachers' aide.
"She was really, really nice," she said. "It didn't surprise me that she was one of the first to try to save her kids."
still lived where she grew up in Stratford, Conn. She graduated from
Eastern Connecticut State University and was getting a master's in
special education at Southern Connecticut State University.
love to spend time with black lab Roxie," she wrote. "I love spending
time with my brother, sisters and cousins. ... I also love flamingos and
the New York Yankees."
Wiltsie told ABC: "Unfortunately, she lost
her life, but knowing the way she lost it, I'm proud to call her family.
... She was a hero trying to protect the children."
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
was 6 and a relative newcomer to Newtown. He was one of two sons of
David and Francine Wheeler. David is a writer and performer with the
Flagpole Shakespeare Repertory Theater. According to his biography on
the website, he and his wife and two sons just moved to Newtown in April
2011. They had lived in New York City before that, where David Wheeler
worked as an actor on stage, film and television.
Caroline Previdi, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Allison Wyatt, 6
Bello, Melanie Eversley, Mary Beth Marklein, Michelle Healy, Martha
Moore (in Newtown), Laura Petracca (in Newtown) and Gary Stoller (in
Newtown) and the Associated Press contributed to this report.