FORT WORTH, Texas (CBSNewYork/AP) — The uncle of a little girl who lost her life to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre said his niece would light up a room and made a mark on everyone who knew her.
Texas resident Jeremie Parker – the uncle of 6-year-old Emilie Parker — told Jason Allen of KTVT-TV, Dallas-Fort Worth that he sent a text message to his sister-in-law the minute he heard of the shooting in Newtown, Conn. His sister-in-law replied, “Emilie’s injured. That’s all we know,” CBSDFW.com reported.
A few hours later, Parker learned his niece had been one of the 20 children who fell to the gunfire of Adam Lanza, 20, when he opened fire on the school. Upon finding out, Parker went back to work as a referee for a basketball tournament, and said Emilie would have been mad had he not done so, CBSDFW.com reported.
Parker said his niece made an impression on anyone who knew her, and was so friendly to strangers that her father even worried about it.
“She would light up a room,” he told CBSDFW.com. “You wouldn’t need lights. She just walked in and the lights would turn on because she would be there.”
When Parker and his wife Julie were struggling to start a family, they learned Emilie had been adding them to her nightly prayer for six months before her father, Robbie Parker, told his brother about it, CBSDFW.com reported.
Just this past Saturday, Jeremie Parker and his wife received the family Christmas card, and the picture of Emilie was the first they saw.
Back in Newtown, Robbie Parker spoke to reporters not long after police released the names and ages of the victims on Saturday.
He expressed no animosity, said he was not mad and offered sympathy for family of the man who killed 26 people and himself.
To the man’s family, he said, “I can’t imagine how hard this experience must be for you.”
He said he struggled to explain the death to Emilie’s two siblings, 3 and 4.
“They seem to get the fact that they have somebody they’re going to miss very much,” he said.
Parker said his daughter loved to try new things _ except for new food. And she was quick to cheer up those in need.
“She never missed an opportunity to draw a picture or make a card for those she around her,” he said.
The world is a better place because Emilie was in it, he said.
“I’m so blessed to be her dad,” he said.
In addition to Emilie, the children killed in the massacre were:
• Charlotte Bacon, 6;
• Daniel Barden, 7;
• Olivia Engel, 6;
• Josephine Gay, 7;
• Ana Marquez-Greene, 6;
• Dylan Hockley, 6;
• Madeleine Hsu, 6;
• Catherine Hubbard, 6;
• Chase Kowalski, 7;
• Jesse Lewis, 6;
• James Mattioli, 6;
• Grace McDonnell, 7;
• Jack Pinto, 6;
• Noah Pozner, 6;
• Caroline Previdi, 6;
• Jessica Rekos, 6;
• Avielle Richman, 6;
• Benjamin Wheeler, 6;
• Allison Wyatt, 6.
The adult victims were:
• Rachel Davino, 29;
• Dawn Hochsprung, 47, the principal of the school;
• Anne Marie Murphy, 52;
• Lauren Rousseau, 30;
• Mary Sherlach, 56, the school psychologist who planned to retire next year;
• Victoria Soto, 27, a first-grade teacher.
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