Vicki Soto's sister relives Sandy Hook shooting through her iconic picture
One of the many heroic teachers during the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting was Victoria "Vicki" Soto. The Latina teacher reportedly shielded her first grade class by locking them in the bathroom and lying to the shooter about their whereabouts. Unfortunately, Vicki was not one of the survivors in the massacre that took over the elementary school last Friday. In the midst of all the pictures emerging from the tragedy, Vicki's sister, Carlee was photographed in an image that summed up the pain families were experiencing that day.
The picture taken of Carlee shows the deep agony she was experiencing the moment she found out her sister was among the dead. Now CBS interviewed the Soto family where they shared Vicki's story and how they've been coping.
I remember seeing Carlee's picture and feeling heartbroken for this anonymous young woman who was trying to find out information about a relative who worked in the school. It's even sadder to learn that her sister turned out to be Vicki Soto, one of the bravest teachers to die that day.
Read more in ¿Qué más?: Latina hero: Teacher Vicki Soto sacrificed herself to save Sandy Hook students (VIDEO)
Carlee's iconic photograph has been seen in every media outlet since that horrific day. Soto calls that picture the worst moment of her life and says that every time she sees it, it kills her as it reminds her of the second she received the tragic news. But Vicki will be remembered as a soul that not only loved her job but adored her students as well.
Carlee told CBS: "We heard at one point that they found some people hiding in a closet and all of us said, 'Vicki would never be hiding in a closet, she would be out there protecting those babies.' " Vicki was known by her friends and family as a selfless individual who would put others before herself--as proven on that tragic day.
Mom Donna remembers arriving on the scene of the traumatic incident. "The families of unaccounted-for students and educators were gathered, and the exact words that the governor used were, 'Two children were brought to Danbury Hospital and expired,' and at that point, the parents just were hysterical. They were on the floor," she remembers.
Even more horrifying were parents seeking their children only to learn that they were dead. Although Vicki's death has been difficult for the Soto family to accept, they're planning on burying her today as more funerals take place for other teachers and children who perished.
Carlee shared on Twitter that she and her siblings, Jillian and Matthew, had been making green ribbons to give out during Vicki's wake, but the wound is still too fresh. She wrote: "Still hasn't sunk in that my sister is gone. God, Vicki, come home and just yell at me already."
It's unfortunate that this family lost a great young woman, but it doesn't take away the fact that she was brave and protective up until her final minutes. Our thoughts are with the Soto family and the many families affected by this tragedy. We hope that they only have brighter days to come.
Images via AP, CBS