Newtown Pastor Tells Story of Sole Surviving First Grade Girl Who Played Dead to Stay Alive
Newtown, Connecticut – A non-denominational pastor in Newtown, Connecticut is sharing the story of a six-year-old girl at Sandy Hook Elementary School, who was the sole survivor in her first grade class after she pretended to be dead.
Pastor Jim Solomon of New Hope Community Church told ABC News that the girl and her family attend his church, and that he has been speaking with the family about the tragedy that unfolded at Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday. The girl, whose name is not being released for privacy reasons, is said to have been the first to come bursting out of the school following the shooting.
“She ran out of the school building covered in blood from head to toe,” Solomon said. “[T]he first words she said to her mom when she got outside was, “Mommy, I’m okay, but all my friends are dead.”
Out of the sixteen children in her class, the girl was the only one to make it out alive.
“Somehow in that moment, by God’s grace, [she] was able to act as if she was already deceased,” he explained.
When asked how the girl knew to play dead in order to save her life, Solomon credited the Lord.
“I think it’s impossible outside of Divine intervention,” he said. “She has wisdom beyond her years.”
Solomon said that the girl saw the furor in the face of the gunman as he stood in the room.
“She saw someone who she felt was angry and somebody who she felt was very mad,” he explained.
Solomon also stated that the family is experiencing a gamut of emotions right now.
“I think [they're doing] as well as you can expect them to do,” he said. “The mom told me that she was suffering from what she called ‘survivor’s guilt’, because so many of their friends no longer have their children, but she has hers.”
According to police, seven students in a separate first grade classroom survived after they hid in a closet.
As previously reported, last Friday morning, 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot his mother in the head while she was still in bed, and then taking her firearms and vehicle, drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he began to fire upon the children and their teachers.
At the end of his violent rampage, when Lanza took his own life as first responders closed in on him, twenty children and six adults were left dead, including the school principal. Medical examiners report that the majority of the victims had been shot multiple times.
“I’ve been at this for a third of a century … [and] this is probably the worst I’ve seen,” said Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner H. Wayne Carver. “This is a very devastating set of injuries.”
Sixteen of the children that died in the rampage were six years of age, and four were seven years old. All of the adults that were killed were women.
One of the slain teachers, 27-year old Victoria Soto, who taught first grade, will be buried today.
“She loved those students more than anything,” her sister Carlee told reporters. “She didn’t call them her students. She called them her kids.”
Police are now looking into possible motives for the shooting. Reports state that Lanza had been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, but that some believe that it was not likely what caused him to act out in the way that he did.