An official fund for victims’ families, and the community as a whole, has now been established: Sandy Hook School Support Fund. It was set up by the United Way of Western Connecticut which will provide support services to families and the community. All donations to this fund will go directly to those affected.
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 Uncle, John Hagen said, “She was going to go some places in this world,” Hagen told Newsday. “This little girl could light up the room for anyone.”
Daniel Barden’s family wrote in a statement: “Everyone who has ever met Daniel remembers and loves him. Words 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. Daniel was fearless in his pursuit of happiness and life. He earned his ripped jeans and missing two front teeth. Despite that, he was, as his mother said, “Just So Good.” He embodied everything that is wholesome and innocent in the world. Our hearts break over losing him and for the many other families suffering loss.”
Olivia Engel, 6, was the older sister to 3-year-old brother Brayden, according to the Wall Street Journal. A relative, John Engel III of New Canaan told the WSJ that Olivia was outgoing and had “a great sense of humor.” She was a Girl Scout, a tennis player and she excelled at math and reading.
“Rest in peace, Angel,” reads a message on a Facebook page dedicated to Gay.
She was nicknamed “Boo” because she looked like the character in the animated children’s movie Monster’s Inc., according to a Facebook post by Carole Laude Pechi. Her beaming smile, fronted by a set of big, white teeth, paired with her short brown hair to complete the resemblance.
Josephine liked to ride her bike in the street and set up lemonade stands in the summer, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.
A neighbor told the Wall Street Journal the family is “very kind” and the Gay girls were very welcoming.
Sinde Candella, who used to live in the neighborhood, said on Facebook she watched news reports hoping she wouldn’t see any names she recognized. Candella said Josephine’s parents, Bob and Michelle, are loving and “very into doing things with their girls.”
“May God be with you and may he hold Josephine in his arms in Heaven,” she posted.
“This just isn’t fair,” wrote Ashley Victoria Kendrick. “She’s so beautiful and happy. She will be a lovely part of heaven.”
Elba Marquez, Ana’s grandmother, said the family moved to Connecticut just two months ago, drawn from Canada, in part, by Sandy Hook’s sterling reputation. The grandmother’s brother, Jorge Marquez, is mayor of a Puerto Rican town and said the child’s 9-year-old brother also was at the school but escaped safely.
Elba Marquez had just visited the new home over Thanksgiving and is perplexed by what happened. “What happened does not match up with the place where they live,” she said.
A video spreading across the Internet shows a confident Ana hitting every note as she sings “Come, Thou Almighty King.” She flashes a big grin and waves to the camera when she’s done.
Jorge Marquez confirmed the girl’s father is saxophonist Jimmy Greene, who wrote on Facebook that he was trying to “work through this nightmare.”
“As much as she’s needed here and missed by her mother, brother and me, Ana beat us all to paradise,” he wrote. “I love you sweetie girl.”
“Dylan Hockley had dimples and blue eyes,” his grandmother Teresa Moretti told the Herald as she fought back tears. “He had the most mischievous little grin. To know him was to love him.”
Dylan died in the arms of his beloved aide, Anne Marie Murphy who tried to protect him from the gunshots. It gave the family some comfort to know he died in her arms.
Madeleine F. Hsu, 6, [Her family does not wish to make a statement in their grief]
Neighbor Karen Dryer called Madeline “very upbeat and kind,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Dryer said the 6-year-old, nicknamed Maddy, shared a ride to school with her 5-year-old son, Logan. “She was a sweet, beautiful little girl,” Dryer told the WSJ. She said the family moved to the neighborhood within the last few years. [read more…]
“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.
“We appreciate the overwhelming support from our community that we have received over the past 24 hours. “We also wish to express our gratitude for all of the emergency responders who responded to this tragic incident as well as the teachers and staff of Sandy Hook School. Our local police and fire departments and the other agencies who are working on this continuing investigation have been incredible.
“We also want to recognize outstanding work of The Connecticut State Police who have been supporting us from the very beginning of this ordeal and continue to provide unwavering support to our family.
“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.
“Jennifer and Matthew Hubbard”
“You couldn’t think of a better child,” neighbor Kevin Grimes told The Associated Press.
Grimes told the AP that he was recently speaking with Chase and the little boy was telling him about winning his first mini-triathlon.
The Kowalski family has set up the Chase Kowalski Scholarship Fund at People’s Bank in his memory.
Like most first graders, Jesse Lewis was excited for the holiday season. The 6-year-old, who was in Victoria Soto’s class, couldn’t wait to go to school on Friday because they were making gingerbread houses, and his father had planned to join them.
James Mattioli’s mother, Cindy, is a native of Sherrill, N.Y.
“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,” he added.
Grace’s devoted grandmother Mary Ann McDonnell is struggling with her tremendous loss.
Surrounded by bags of Christmas gifts for Gracie, she told the Boston Herald of her devastating loss.
“Gracie’s gone, the little girly girl is gone,” McDonnell said, her eyes brimming with tears as she spoke of the tot who loved playing dress-up with her grandmother’s jewellery and wearing pink.
“They kept saying, ‘They can’t find her. They can’t find her,’ ” McDonnell recalled of the aftermath. “All day long I was praying she would be OK.
“She was a wonderful little girl. She was always smiling. I think everybody should know about these beautiful children whose lives were cut short.”
The family released a statement saying, Jack was an “inspiration to all those who knew him.”
“Jack loved school, reading, wrestling, skiing and football. Most of all Jack loved to play with his friends and keep up with his big brother,” said his family. “He had a wide smile that would simply light up the room and while we are all uncertain as to how we will ever cope without him, we choose to remember and celebrate his life. Not dwelling on the loss but instead on the gift that we were given and will forever cherish in our hearts forever.”
Noah Pozner and his twin sister celebrated their sixth birthdays on Nov. 20. His sister, Arielle, who was in another class, survived.
Pozner’s uncle Alexis Haller told The Associated Press that he was “smart as a whip,” gentle but with a rambunctious streak.
Haller told the AP that Pozner called Arielle his best friend.
“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.”
“You were a sweet little girl and you will be missed.” That’s how Paige Tremblay said goodbye to 6-year-old Caroline Previdi on Twitter Saturday. Tremblay’s 6-year-old niece was a playmate of Previdi’s, according to her feed. “It hurts even more to see a familiar name on that list,” she said in a later tweet.
She was a sweet, precious little angel according to a statement on The Denver Post.
Jessica‘s parents, Rich and Krista Rekos, released a statement describing their daughter’s love of horses. When she turned 10, they promised, she could have a horse of her own. For Christmas, she asked Santa for new cowgirl boots and hat.
“She devoted her free time to watching horse movies, reading horse books, drawing horses, and writing stories about horses,” her family said in the statement.
The family described Jessica as “a creative, beautiful little girl who loved playing with her little brothers, Travis and Shane.
“We cannot imagine our life without her. We are mourning her loss, sharing our beautiful memories we have of her, and trying to help her brother Travis understand why he can’t play with his best friend,” they said.
According to her blog, Avielle took horse-riding lessons, had a pony named Betty, enjoyed two family cats and celebrated her sixth birthday in October. Her family recently moved to Newtown from California.
Benjamin Wheeler, 6, was a relative newcomer to Newtown. He was one of two sons of David and Francine Wheeler. The family moved from New York City. The father is a music teacher and performer. “Music can happen anywhere,” Francine Wheeler told The Bee. “We knew we wanted a piece of lawn, somewhere quiet, somewhere with good schools. We have friends in Newtown we’ve been visiting for a few years, and liked the town, so with the help of a really patient real estate agent we finally found a place.”
Allison N. Wyatt, 6, is remembered as a quiet and shy and loving little girl.
“She was a very shy girl, she was quiet and kept to herself, but she would smile at things. If a kid did something funny, she’d be laughing,” said day care teacher Kate Capellaro of All for Kids in Ridgefield.
Mary Sherlach, 56, spent most of her professional life trying to help kids from taking a wrong turn. A 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. She ran out with the Principal to stop the gunman.
Victoria Soto, 27, was known as Miss Victoria Soto in Room 10, a smiling teacher who underscored her enthusiasm over teaching first-graders with exclamation points.
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!”
Victoria Soto’s cousin, Jim Wiltsie, said police had told him that she was trying to usher her pupils into a storage room when she came face-to-face with Lanza. Ms Soto, 27, rushed towards the killer, blocking the bullets with her body.
Lauren Rousseau, 30, 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. It was the “best year of her life” according to her mother.
Her boyfriend said “I called her `Busy Bee,’ ” Lusardi said Saturday morning, speaking of the pace Lauren lived her life. “She called me `Worker Bee.’
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.
“Lauren 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, college at the University of Connecticut and 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.” “She was like a kid in many ways,” her father, Gilles Rousseau, said. “That’s why she liked working with kids so much. She died with her little kids.
A happy soul. A good mother, wife and daughter. Artistic, fun-loving, witty and hardworking. Remembering their daughter, Anne Marie Murphy, her 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 hours ticked by. And then it came.
Authorities told the couple their daughter was a hero who helped shield one 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.”
In an act of incredible courage, Dawn Hochsprung ran after the killer to stop him from hurting her beloved “family.” She was beloved by faculty, students and parents. She was enthusiastic, dedicated and passionate as one former Superintendent described her.
Rachel D’Avino‘s boyfriend asked her parents for permission to marry her just days before the shooting. He was going to propose on Christmas Eve. Courageously, she shielded one of her students from the gunman.
There are two wounded staff members recovering in the hospital.
Thank you to the brave first responders, those who rushed in selflessly to save the lives of the people in the Sandy Hook Elementary.
Teachers describe the scene:
I am so sorry. This feels like 9/11.