Victoria Soto, a teacher who was among the 26 people gunned down during the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday is being widely praised on Facebook as a hero after saving students in her class from being killed.
News of the mass shooting believed to have been carried out by 20-year-old Adam Lanza captured the attention of the entire nation.
But the tale of devastation at the Sandy Hook school is not without its heroes.
The day after the shooting, when many people posted statuses sharing condolences for the families and friends who had lost loved ones, photographs of Soto began to go viral on the social-media website.
Here is the description under one of the pictures: “This is Victoria Soto. The 27 years old heroic teacher who gave her life to save her students in Friday's incident of Sandy Hook school. She hid her first graders in the cabinets and closets after hearing the gunfire. When the shooter came to her classroom, she told him that her students were in the gym. He then gunned her down and moved on. She saved the lives of all of her students. Please pass this on if you see it. She deserves to be remembered for her bravery.”
Stories about Soto’s heroism were apparently true as several news reports verified the Facebook account of the last moments of the 27-year-old teacher's life: She had in fact shielded her students from Lanza and saved their lives.
"You have a teacher who cared more about her students than herself," said John Harkins, the mayor of Soto’s hometown of Stratford, Conn., according to the Associated Press. "That speaks volumes to her character, and her commitment and dedication."
On Saturday night, about 300 people gathered for her memorial service in Stratford, the AP reported.
"She put those children first. That's all she ever talked about," said her friend Andrea Crowell. "She wanted to do her best for them, to teach them something new every day."
Lanza is believed to have killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, on Friday before going to Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he killed 20 children and six adults before apparently taking his own life, as well.