The first details of the child victims of America’s worst mass school shooting are beginning to emerge.Ana Marquez-Greene, the daughter of the jazz musician Jimmy Greene; Grace McDonnell; and Jesse Lewis were all six-year-old pupils who died at Sandy Hook Elementary School after being murdered by Adam Lanza.
Ana and her older brother, Isaiah, enrolled at Sandy Hook Elementary School earlier this year after moving to the area with their parents in July.
Both she and her brother were inside the school when the killer opened fire. She was one of the 20 pupils shot dead but her brother escaped unharmed.
Grace McDonnell has been described as “utterly adorable” and “full of life.” One neighbour described her as looking like a “little doll” with her bright blue eyes and blonde hair.
Her parents Lynn McDonnell, 45, a housewife, and Christopher, 49, a business executive, live in a $500,000 detached home in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, one street away from where alleged killer Adam Lanza lived.
Neighbour Dorothy Werden, 49, a stay-at-home mother, said: “I just choke up when I think about it. Grace was like a little doll. She was utterly adorable.
“I used to see her waiting for the school bus over the road from our house every day. She had blonde hair and blue eyes — she was like a little Barbie doll.
“When I saw Lynn and Christopher at the school with Lynn being held up by a nun I knew things were not good. I can’t imagine what they are going through.”
A male neighbour who declined to be named said: “What they are going through is indescribable. We are very close. It’s just awful.”
Jesse’s grieving father Neil Heslin told the New York Post that his son had been in Victoria Soto’s class — the first grade teacher who died trying to protect her pupils.
He said the class had been due to make gingerbread houses during the afternoon.
He said: “I dropped him off at school at 9am. He went happily. That was the last I saw of him.
“He was just a happy boy. He was going to go places in life. He did well in school. He was terrific with animals … He’s been on horses since he was a year-and-a-half old.”
Mr Heslin also described Adam Lanza, the gunman who killed his son, as “cowardly.”
“I feel that it was a cowardly thing he did to the victims and a cowardly thing he did to himself,” he said.
“For what he did to his victims and the way he went into the school, he picked victims that couldn’t defend themselves against him.”
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