Hearts broke across the country with news of a mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14, 2012. Twenty first-graders and six school employees were fatally shot inside the school. Here is a closer look at the victims of the tragedy.
Charlotte Bacon, 6
Charlotte wanted to be a veterinarian since age 2. Charlotte was described by her parents – Joel and JoAnn Bacon – as “an extraordinarily gifted 6-year-old who filled her family each day with joy and love.” She wore a new pink dress and boots to school on the last day of her life.
Daniel Barden, 7
Daniel’s family said he loved riding waves at the beach, playing drums in a band with his brother, James, and sister, Natalie, playing Foosball, and making s’mores around a campfire with his cousins at his grandfather’s house in the upstate New York town of Smallwood.
Noah Pozner, 6
Noah loved animals and Mario Bros. video games, and called his twin sister, Arielle, his best friend. He also loved tacos, and said he someday wanted to be the manager of a taco factory. Having turned 6 less than a month ago, Noah was the youngest victim.
Jack Pinto, 6
Jack was an avid wrestler, and many of his friends showed up to his funeral wearing sports jerseys. Red white and blue medals were placed around their necks. Jack dreamed of becoming a professional football player and idolized Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz. In fact, he was buried wearing his Victor Cruz jersey. After learning he was Jack’s favorite player, Cruz wrote “R.I.P. Jack Pinto,” on his shoes and gloves for the game against the Falcons in Atlanta.
Jesse Lewis, 6
Jesse Lewis, who was described by a family friend as “full of life” had hot chocolate with his favorite breakfast sandwich – sausage, egg and cheese – at the neighborhood deli before going to school Friday morning. Jesse’s family has a collection of animals he enjoyed playing with, and he was learning to ride horseback.
Grace McDonnell, 7
Grace loved painting and taking trips to the beach. Her parents said Sunday they couldn’t believe the outpouring of support they’ve received since the little girl who was the center of their lives died in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Dylan Hockley had moved to Connecticut from England with his family two years ago. Dylan loved to cuddle, play tag with the neighbors each morning at the bus stop, bounce on the trampoline, play computer games, watch movies, and eat his favorite foods – especially chocolate. He died in the arms of his adored classroom aide Anne Marie Murphy.
Jessica Rekos, 6
Jessica was wild about horses and had asked Santa for new cowgirl boots and a cowgirl hat.“Jessica loved everything about horses,” her parents, Rich and Krista Rekos said in a statement. “She devoted her free time to watching horse movies, reading horse books, drawing horses and writing stories about horses.”
Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
The family described Ana as “a child devoted to Jesus Christ.” A talented young singer, 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.
Madeleine Hsu was shy and quiet – but she would light up around dogs. Karen Dryer, who lived on the same street as the Hsu family, would see Madeleine’s mom waiting for her at the bus stop at 3:15 every afternoon. Dryer would wait too, for her son Logan, who is in kindergarten. Dryer usually brought the family’s golden retriever with her. “She would come off the bus and her face would light up when she saw the dog,” Dryer said.
Olivia Engel, 6
Olivia Rose Engel excelled in a variety of pursuits – from swimming and ballet to hip-hop dance lessons. Olivia’s family said she loved school and did well in math and reading. She laughed often and lit up a room, and had a creative spark as she drew and designed things. She was also a tennis player and took art classes, enjoyed soccer, and had a passion for musical theatre. She was involved with the Daisy Girl Scouts, and was a big sister to her 3-year-old brother, Brayden.
James Mattioli, 6
James especially loved recess and math and his family described him as a “numbers guy” who came up with insights beyond his years to explain the relationship between numbers. He particularly loved the concept of googolplex, which a friend taught him. He loved hamburgers with ketchup, his Dad’s omelets with bacon, and his Mom’s French toast. He often asked to stop at Subway and wanted to know how old he needed to be to order a foot-long sandwich.
Chase Kowalski, 6
Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre victim Chase Kowalski was already an accomplished athlete at the age of 7, having completed his first triathlon and taking great pleasure in the game of baseball. Chase was a Cub Scout, and could often be found in the yard playing ball, or riding his bike or quad, his family said.
Catherine Hubbard, 6
The parents of the fair-skinned, freckle-faced red head released a statement expressing gratitude to emergency responders and for the support of the community. “We ask that you continue to pray for us and the other families who have experienced loss in this tragedy,” said Jennifer and Matthew Hubbard.
Josephine Gay, 7
Josephine Gay had turned 7 just three days before the shooting. Joey, as her family called her, loved the color purple. She loved to ride her bike in the street, and had set up a lemonade stand in the summer. Josephine was nicknamed “Boo” because of her resemblance to the character in the movie “Monsters Inc.,” the New Haven Register reported.
Emilie Parker, 6
Quick to cheer up those in need of a smile, Emilie Parker was a beautiful blonde who was always-smiling, her father said. “She would light up a room,” her uncle in Texas told CBSDFW.com. “You wouldn’t need lights. She just walked in and the lights would turn on because she would be there.”
Caroline Previdi, 6
“Silly Caroline” Previdi had an infectious grin and a giving heart. Karen Dryer, a neighbor, remembered how Caroline would ride the bus with her son, Logan, when he got scared. She’d sit with him, make sure he felt safe, and play peek-a-boo over the seat to distract him.
Avielle Richman, 6
Avie had moved to Sandy Hook from San Diego about two years ago with her parents, Jeremy Richman and Jennifer Hensel. The curly-headed little girl loved horses, Harry Potter and the color red. She tried archery after watching the Disney movie “Brave.” She told her parents that her dream car was a minivan. To reward her for reading over the summer, they took her to lunch.
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Ben loved soccer and swimming, played piano and hoped to be an architect or a paleontologist. Ben’s family described him as “an irrepressibly bright and spirited boy whose love of fun and excitement at the wonders of life and the world could rarely be contained. His rush to experience life was headlong, creative and immediate.”
Allison Wyatt, 6
Allison loved her teachers and her family. Sometimes, she’d make her parents laugh so hard they cried. She wanted to be an artist, and her drawings would be taped to the walls as if the house were an art studio.
Vicki Soto, 27
While her family said Vicki would never want to be famous, the Sandy Hook Elementary School first grade teacher will forever be hailed a hero for giving her own life to shield her young students from the gunfire. Her favorite color was green, and her brother fondly remembered annual trips to pick out the family’s Christmas tree, with Vicki leading the way.
Mary Sherlach, 56
When the shots rang out, Mary Sherlach threw herself into the danger. Janet Robinson, the superintendent of Newtown Public Schools, said Sherlach and the school’s principal ran toward the shooter. They lost their own lives, rushing toward him. Sherlach’s son-in-law, Eric Schwartz, told the South Jersey Times that Sherlach rooted on the Miami Dolphins, enjoyed visiting the Finger Lakes, relished helping children overcome their problems.
Dawn Hochsprung’s pride in Sandy Hook Elementary was clear. She regularly tweeted photos from her time as principal there, giving indelible glimpses of life at a place now known for tragedy. Just this week, it was an image of fourth-graders rehearsing for their winter concert; days before that, the tiny hands of kindergartners exchanging play money at their makeshift grocery store.
Rachel D’avino, 29
D’Avino was a behavioral therapist who had only recently started working at the school, according to Lissa Lovetere Stone, a friend. The 29-year-old was due to be engaged on Christmas Eve. Her boyfriend asked permission from her family the week before the shooting.
Lauren Rousseau, 30
Lauren Rousseau 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. 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.
Anne Marie Murphy, 52
Authorities told the parents of 52-year-old special education teacher, Anne Marie Murphy, that their daughter died a hero, reportedly helping to shield some of her students from the rain of bullets. “You don’t expect your daughter to be murdered,” her father said. “It happens on TV. It happens elsewhere.”