Seven or younger, all were hit multiple times, Lanza shot to maim
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It was eerily silent in the school when police officers rushed in with their rifles drawn after the shooting. There were the dead or dying in one section, while elsewhere, those who had eluded the bullets were under orders from their teachers to remain quiet in their hiding places.
The principal, Dawn Hochsprung, 47, and the psychologist, Mary Sherlach, 56, were among the dead, as were teachers Rachel Davino, 29; Anne Marie Murphy, 52; and Victoria Soto, 27. Lauren Rousseau, 30, had started as a full-time teacher in September after years of working as a substitute. "It was the best year of her life," The News-Times quoted her mother, Teresa, as saying.
Soto reportedly shooed her first graders into closets and cabinets when she heard the first shots, and then, by some accounts, told the gunman the youngsters were in the gym. Her cousin, James Willsie, told ABC News she had "put herself between the gunman and the kids".
School officials have said there are no immediate plans to reopen Sandy Hook Elementary. Staff members will gather at the high school on Monday to discuss what happened, and students will be assigned to attend other schools by Wednesday.
Dorothy Werden, 49, lives across the street from Christopher and Lynn McDonnell, who lost their daughter Grace, 7. Werden remembered seeing Grace get on a bus Friday at 8:45 am. Like the rest of the nation, she said, local residents were struggling with a single question: Why?
"Why did he have to go to the elementary school and kill all of those defenceless children?" Werden asked.
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