The family of Victoria "Vicki" Soto -- the Newtown teacher and Stratford High grad who died so that her students could live -- is numb but coping knowing that Vicki's selflessness saved many young lives, says a member of the family’s church.
"It's one thing that's helping them cope with the situation -- that she went to extraordinary means to protect her children and ended up giving her life," said Ken Gardner, a member of Lordship Community Church who visited the Stratford family Saturday.
Upon hearing the first rounds of gunfire in an adjacent classroom, the 27-year-old teacher scrambled to hide her first-grade students, 15 or 16 kids, before the gunman made his way to her room, a source told the Hartford Courant.
After entering the room, the shooter confronted and killed Soto but the students were saved because the gunman did not see them in the room, the source told the newspaper.
Gardner said the family is still numb but national news of Vicki's courage is giving them strength.
Vicki was the eldest of four siblings. She is survived by her parents, Donna and Carlos, Sr.; two sisters, Jillian and Carlee; and one brother, Carlos.
HOW YOU CAN HELP THE SOTOS
Gardner, as treasurer of the Lordship Community Church, has established a fund to assist the Soto family with funeral expenses.
Donations can be made to Lordship Community Church, Soto Fund, 179 Prospect Drive, Stratford, CT 06615. The church can be reached at 203.377.6568.