NEWTOWN MOURNS: One shielded children with her body, two others executed when they confronted assailant
NEWTOWN (Connecticut) 16/12/2012: THREE teachers murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School all died heroes trying to save their students from a gunman who they recognised as the son of a kindergarten teacher there.
Authorities have identified principal Dawn Hochsprung, 47, school psychologist Mary Sherlach, 56, and Victoria Soto, a young first-grade teacher, as three of the eight adults found dead on Friday.
Twenty-eight people died in the shooting rampage, including alleged gunman Adam Lanza, who took his own life.
Soto sacrificed herself to save her students -- throwing herself in front of the children.
When Lanza began firing at the school, here, some teachers dived under tables but Hochsprung and Sherlach never hesitated.
They ran into the hallway to confront the danger and were murdered execution-style as a result .
The New York Times reports that Hochsprung buzzed Lanza into the school, bypassing the newly-installed security system as she recognised him as the son of Nancy Lanza, a teacher there.
Little did she know that Adam had already killed his mother at the home they shared nearby. He took three of her guns and used her car to drive to the school.
Diane Day, a school therapist, told the Wall Street Journal that she and other teachers were in a meeting with Hochsprung and Sherlach when the shooting began.
"We were there for about five minutes chatting and we heard, 'pop pop pop'," she said. "I went under the table."
The principal and the school psychologist had other ideas. They jumped out of their seat and ran towards the sound of the gunfire.
Rabbi Shaul Praver told MSNBC that Hochsprung and Sherlach were killed execution-style.
Tributes for all educators poured in on Friday night.
A deeply distraught 10-year-old boy, a former student of Soto, said she was "really nice and funny".
Jacob Riley said she liked to chew gum in class, something not usually allowed for teachers.
He said he often teased her about her habit and she teased him back.
Former school superintendent John Reed told the Connecticut Post that Sherlach was warm and cared deeply for her students.
"If there ever was a person, by qualifications and personality, to work with children, to be a school psychologist, it was Mary," he said.
She was married and had two grown daughters in their 20s and enjoyed gardening, reading and the theatre, according to her school biography.
Hoschsprung was divorced, but happily married to her second husband. She regularly tweeted dozens of pictures of her school. DM