Even in the face of unspeakable horror, God’s Hand is there to grant Mercy and Refuge. As time passes, stories are coming to light. Stories of how the staff rose to heroically save lives.
Shots rang out at 9:30am when Principal Dawn Hochsprung , school psychologist Mary Sherlach and the school’s vice principal ran to the sound of the guns. As she confronted the maniac her words were heard over the school intercom which had been switched on by persons unknown at this time. Their heroic act alerted the staff and gave them time to protect the children. Dawn and Mary were then shot to death. The vice principal [name withheld] was wounded in the foot but managed to crawl to safety.
Victoria Soto had enough time to hide her first graders in a classroom closet before the killer entered the room. When he asked where the children were, Soto said “They are not here, they went to the gym.” She was then executed but her children were safe. The killer moved on.
Staff in the gym shepherded children into an office and locked the door. When the madman got to the gym he found it empty.
Kaitlin Roig hid with her 15 first graders in a tiny bathroom. “I said to them, ‘I need you to know that I love you all very much and that it’s going to be OK,’ because I thought that was the last thing they were ever going to hear”. She told them,”‘There are bad guys out there now. We need to wait for the good guys,” They were in the closet for an hour when the police finally knocked on the door, Roig made them shove the badges under the door. Even then she said that if they were really the police they would have a key to unlock the door. Which the cops then went to get and unlock the door.
A custodian ran through the halls yelling,” Guys! Get down! Hide!'”. Mary Ann Jacobs, who worked as a clerk in the school library moved 18 children into an office but when the door couldn’t be locked had them low crawl to a closet. Finding crayons and paper there, the children were put to work coloring to keep them quiet. She also didn’t open the door until a police badge was shoved under the door.
Second grade teacher Abbey Clements realized she was hearing gunshots on the intercom. With bullets flying in the hallway she opened her door and snatched a couple of students to the safety of a locked closet in her classroom.
Robert Licata said his 6-year-old son was in class when the gunman burst in and shot the teacher. “That’s when my son grabbed a bunch of his friends and ran out the door,” he said. “He was very brave. He waited for his friends.” A group of older children found themselves without a teacher when the shooting started. They organized their own escape to safety.
At 9:38am the murderer shot himself in the head and it was over.
Eight minutes that shattered so many lives. We mourn for those who were murdered. We pray knowing that Jesus has embraced 20 beautiful little souls and their teachers gave their full measure of sacrifice to fight the Evil that invaded their school. We give thanks to God’s Mercy and Blessings for those who were spared. Truly the Holy Spirit swept through Sandy Hook Elementary and girded ordinary people with heroic courage.