Washington: A first-grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Victoria Soto, tried to shield her students using her body from the maniacal shooter, who killed nearly 20 kids in the shooting spree, friends and family said.
“She put herself between the gunman and her students,” her cousin Jim Wiltsie said.
Soto paid for her bravery with her life. But in doing so, the 27-year-old saved her first-graders from the murderous wrath of Adam Lanza — and became a hero, the report said.
“The family received information she was found shielding her students in a closet,” Soto’s cousin Jim Wiltsie said, adding: “She put herself between the gunman and her students.”
“I’m very proud to report she was a hero,” said Wiltsie, who is a police officer in Fairfield, Connecticut.
“I would expect nothing less from Vicki. Instinctively her training kicked in. She did what she was trained to do, but also what her heart told her to do,” Wiltsie added.
“She absolutely adored her family, a very close-knit family,” Wiltsie said.
“She was the ringleader of the bunch. They had just done secret Santa. She always took charge,” she added.
No funeral arrangements have been made yet for Soto because her body has not been released.
But Wilstie said he wants the world to know Vicki’s story now, before she is buried and forgotten.
“I want to get this out there,” he said, adding:“Instead of her just being a statistic or number on a piece of paper, I want people to know Vicki’s story and put a face behind what she did for those kids.”