Soto, 27, was killed trying to protect her students from Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old shooter who first killed his mother, then took some of her guns and went to Sandy Hook, where he killed 20 students and six adults with a Bushmaster assault rifle. Lanza then turned a handgun on himself as police closed in.
In the photo are Soto’s fallen students: Dylan Hockley, Allison Wyatt, Jesse Lewis, Avielle Richman, and Olivia Engel, all 6 years old. Fellow teacher Anne Marie Murphy, 52, also pictured, was slain as well. She was reported to have been found with her arms around one of the slain children.
After Lanza killed 14 children in the classroom next door, he entered Soto's class. Soto had already hidden her students in the classroom closet and in cabinets, then stood toe-to-toe with Lanza. As Lanza entered, the room, Soto bravely spoke to him, trying to distract him by saying her students were in the auditorium.
Unfortunately, a handful of students tried to flee, instead of staying hidden as Soto had instructed. It will never be known what might have happened if they had remained still; Lanza shot them.
However, as a result of Soto’s actions, while five of her students were killed, nine survived. Her sacrifice -- as well as the sacrifices of the other adults at the school -- were not in vain.