Granddad comforted children as they fled the chaos

Gene Rosen was heading from his home to a diner when he saw six children sitting in a semi-circle at the end of his driveway.

Granddad comforted children as they fled the chaos

It was about 9.30am and the children had just run from their school to escape the gunman.

“We can’t go back to school,” one boy told Rosen. “Our teacher is dead. Mrs Soto; we don’t have a teacher.”

Rosen, 69, a retired psychologist who lives near Sandy Hook Elementary School, took the four girls and two boys into his home and, over the next few hours gave them toys, listened to their stories and called their frantic parents.

He ran upstairs and grabbed an armful of stuffed animals. He gave those to the children, along with some juice, and sat with them as the two boys described seeing their teacher being shot.

The six who turned up at Rosen’s home apparently had to run past their teacher’s body as they fled to safety.

“They said he had a big gun and a little gun,” said Rosen, who did not want to discuss other details the children shared.

He called the children’s parents, using mobile phone numbers obtained from the school bus company, and they came and retrieved their children.

One little girl, he said, spent the entire ordeal clutching a small stuffed dalmatian to her chest and staring out the window looking for her mother.

Rosen said Sandy Hook had always been a place of joy for him.

“I thought today how life has changed, how that ground has been marred, how that school has been desecrated,” he said.

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