Victims of Sandy Hook school massacre are named - Americas - World - The Independent

Victims of Sandy Hook school massacre are named

All 20 children who died in a shooting in Connecticut were aged between six and seven

Connecticut police have released the names of the 26 people gunned down in the rampage at a primary school.

Of the 20 children who were shot dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School, eight were boys and 12 were girls.

All the children were aged six or seven.

All six adults killed at the school were women.

The full list is:

Charlotte Bacon, 6

Daniel Barden, 7

Rachel Davino, 29

Olivia Engel, 6

Josephine Gay, 7

Ana Marquez-Greene, 6

Dylan Hockley, 6

Dawn Hochsprung, 47

Madeleine Hsu, 6

Catherine Hubbard, 6

Chase Kowalski, 7

Jesse Lewis, 6

James Mattioli, 6

Grace McDonnell, 7

Anne Marie Murphy, 52

Emilie Parker, 6

Jack Pinto, 6

Noah Pozner, 6

Caroline Previdi, 6

Jessica Rekos, 6

Avielle Richman, 6

Lauren Rousseau, 30

Mary Sherlach, 56

Victoria Soto, 27

Benjamin Wheeler, 6

Allison Wyatt, 6

Here are details of some victims of the massacre:

:: VICTORIA SOTO

She beams in photos. Her enthusiasm was evident. She was doing, those who knew her say, what she loved.

And now, Victoria Soto is being called a hero.

Though details of the 27-year-old teacher's death remain unclear, her name has been invoked again and again as a portrait of selflessness and humanity among unfathomable evil.

A cousin, Jim Wiltsie, told ABC News that investigators told his family she was killed while shielding her students from danger. She reportedly hid some students in a bathroom or closet, ensuring they were safe.

"She was trying to shield, get her children into a closet and protect them from harm," Mr Wiltsie told ABC. "And by doing that, put herself between the gunman and the children."

Soto's goal was simply to be a teacher.

"She lost her life doing what she loved," Mr Wiltsie said.

:: ANA MARQUEZ-GREENE

A year ago, six-year-old Ana Marquez-Greene was revelling in holiday celebrations with her extended family on her first trip to Puerto Rico.

The girl's grandmother, Elba Marquez, said the child's family moved to Connecticut just two months ago, drawn from Canada, in part, by Sandy Hook's pristine reputation. The grandmother's brother, Jorge Marquez, is mayor of a Puerto Rican town and said the child's nine-year-old brother was also at the school, but he escaped safely.

Elba Marquez had just visited the new home over the Thanksgiving holiday and finds herself perplexed by what happened.

"It was a beautiful place, just beautiful," she said. "What happened does not match up with the place where they live."

:: DAWN HOCHSPRUNG

Dawn Hochsprung's pride in Sandy Hook Elementary was clear. She regularly tweeted photos from her time as school principal. Just this week, it was an image of students rehearsing for their winter concert.

She viewed her school as a model, telling The Newtown Bee newspaper in 2010: "I don't think you could find a more positive place to bring students to every day."

She had worked to make Sandy Hook a place of safety, too, and in October, the 47-year-old Hochsprung shared a picture of the school's evacuation drill with the message: "Safety first."

When the unthinkable came, she was ready to defend. Officials said she died while lunging at the gunman in an attempt to overtake him.

"She had an extremely likeable style about her," said Gerald Stomski, first selectman of Woodbury, where Hochsprung lived and had taught. "She was an extremely charismatic principal while she was here."

:: MARY SHERLACH

When the shots rang out, school psychologist Mary Sherlach, 56, threw herself into the danger.

Janet Robinson, the superintendent of Newtown Public Schools, said Sherlach and the school's principal ran toward the gunman. They lost their lives, rushing toward him.

Even as Ms Sherlach neared retirement, her job at Sandy Hook was one she loved. Those who knew her called her a wonderful neighbour, a beautiful person, a dedicated educator.

Her son-in-law, Eric Schwartz, told the South Jersey Times that Ms Sherlach relished helping children overcome their problems. She had planned to leave work early on Friday, he said. In a news conference today, he told reporters the loss was devastating, but that Sherlach was doing what she loved.

"Mary felt like she was doing God's work," he said, "working with the children."

:: LAUREN ROUSSEAU

Lauren Rousseau had spent years working as a substitute teacher and doing other jobs. So she was thrilled when she finally realised her goal this year to become a full-time teacher at Sandy Hook.

"It was the best year of her life," her mother, Teresa Rousseau, told the Danbury News-Times, where she is a copy editor.

Ms Rousseau has been called gentle, spirited and active. She was a lover of music, dance and theatre.

"I'm used to having people die who are older," her mother said, "not the person whose room is up over the kitchen.

:: OLIVIA ENGEL

The images of six-year-old Olivia Engel will live beyond her short lifetime. There she is visiting 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 long-time friend of Olivia's family, said he could never forget her, 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, Mr Merton said, she was excited to go to school and return home and make a gingerbread house.

"Her only crime," he said, "is being a wiggly, smiley six-year-old."

:: ANNE MARIE MURPHY

A happy soul. A good mother, wife and daughter. Artistic, fun-loving, witty and hardworking.

Remembering their 52-year-old teacher daughter, Anne Marie Murphy's parents had no shortage of adjectives to offer Newsday. When news of the shooting broke, Hugh and Alice McGowan waited for word of their daughter as hour by hour ticked by. And then it came.

Authorities 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 the newspaper. "It happens on TV. It happens elsewhere."

:: CHASE KOWALSKI

Chase Kowalski, seven, was always outside, playing in the back yard, riding his bicycle. Last week, he was visiting neighbour Kevin Grimes, telling him about completing - and winning - his first mini-triathlon.

"You couldn't think of a better child," Mr Grimes said.

Mr Grimes's own five children all attend Sandy Hook too. Cars lined up outside the Kowalskis' ranch home on Saturday, and a state trooper's car idled in the driveway. Mr Grimes spoke of the boy only in the present tense.

:: EMILIE PARKER

Quick to cheer up those in need of a smile, six-year-old Emilie Parker never missed a chance to draw a picture or make a card.

Her father Robbie fought back tears as he described the beautiful, blonde, always-smiling girl who loved to try new things, except food.

Mr Parker, one of the first parents to talk publicly about his loss, expressed no animosity for the gunman, even as he struggled to explain the death to his other two children, aged three and four. He is sustained by the fact that the world is better for having had Emilie in it.

"I'm so blessed to be her dad," he said.

:: NANCY LANZA

The gunman's 52-year-old mother was known simply for the game nights she hosted and the Christmas decorations she put up at her house. Now Ms Lanza is known as her son's first victim.

Authorities say Lanza gunned his mother down before killing 26 others at Sandy Hook. The two shared a home in a well-to-do Newtown neighbourhood, but details were slow to emerge of who she was and what might have led her son to carry out such horror.

Police Chief Donald Briggs Jr, of Kingston, New Hampshire, said Ms 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.

Court records show Ms 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 neighbour, Rhonda Cullens, said she knew Ms Lanza from get-togethers she had hosted to play Bunco, a dice game. She said her neighbour enjoyed gardening.

"She was a very nice lady," Ms Cullens said. "She was just like all the rest of us in the neighbourhood, just a regular person."

:: CATHERINE HUBBARD

A family friend turned reporters away from the house but six-year-old Catherine's parents released a statement expressing gratitude to emergency responders and for the support of the community.

"We 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. "We ask that you continue to pray for us and the other families who have experienced loss in this tragedy."

:: MADELEINE HSU

Dr Matthew Velsmid was at six-year-old Madeleine's house on Saturday, tending to her stricken family. He said the family did not want to comment.

Dr Velsmid said that after hearing of the shooting, he went to the triage area to provide medical assistance but there were no injuries to treat.

"We 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."

Dr Velsmid's daughter, who attends another school, lost three of her friends in the massacre.

AP

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