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Neighbor Found Terrified Children On Front Lawn After School Massacre

Gene Rosen

Gene Rosen took in six children he found on his lawn after the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn. (Credit: CBS News)

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NEWTOWN, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — Newtown, Conn., resident Gene Rosen took in six children whom he found on his front lawn after the shooting Friday.

Rosen spoke tearfully with CBS This Morning Saturday about the horrors he encountered when he found the distraught children, who had escaped from Sandy Hook Elementary School after the massacre.

“I looked outside and I saw these six children, and I thought they were practicing for a play, or Cub Scouts, and I went and approached them and it became clear that they were so distressed,” Rosen said. “And I took them into my house, and they were crying and talking, and I got them some stuffed animals.”

Rosen said at first, he had no idea what had happened.

“And then the children started talking,” he said. “I felt like they had witnessed some of the bloodshed. They were very brave; very sweet children. I started calling their parents, and they said, ‘I just can’t go back to that school.’”

The children talked about a gun, and Rosen said he had a “strong sense” that the children had witnessed the shooting either in passing or when they were leaving.

The children’s parents arrived within 30 to 40 minutes, Rosen said.
Rosen said if he saw the children again, he would praise them for their bravery.

“I would tell them how brave they were,” he said. “I would tell them how brave they were, and how I’d be their friend, and how I’ll never forget them.”

The gunman, Adam Lanza, 20, shot and killed his mother in the Newtown home he shared with her, before driver her car to the school and opening fire on two classrooms. Twenty children and eight adults were killed.

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