Neighbor Comforts Sandy Hook Students Who Escaped Building

By Stephania Jimenez
|  Tuesday, Dec 18, 2012  |  Updated 12:51 AM EDT
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Newtown resident Gene Rosen, who lives a few doors up from Sandy Hook Elementary School, helped keep six children safe after they escaped from the school while the shooting was underway. The 69 year-old grandfather and retired psychologist said he took the four girls and two boys into his home, and over the next few hours gave them toys and fed them snacks.

Newtown resident Gene Rosen, who lives a few doors up from Sandy Hook Elementary School, helped keep six children safe after they escaped from the school while the shooting was underway. The 69 year-old grandfather and retired psychologist said he took the four girls and two boys into his home, and over the next few hours gave them toys and fed them snacks.

Days after Friday's tragic shooting in Newtown, we continue to learn stories of survival and hope.

Gene Rosen lives a few doors up from Sandy Hook Elementary School. On Friday morning, he had no idea what was happening at the school, when he saw three shaken up kids at the end of his driveway. 

It was 9:30 a.m., and the children, he discovered, had just run from the school to escape a gunman.

"I approached the kids and I saw something had happened. They were crying. They were all crying, these kids," said Rosen. 

That's when he heard the unthinkable.

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

Victoria Soto, 27, was a first-grade teacher killed when 20-year-old Adam Lanza burst into her classroom.

"They start talking about blood, and then they start talking about the two guns," said Rosen.

Rosen took the four girls and two boys into his home, and over the next few hours gave them toys and fed them snacks.

Rosen said he had heard the staccato sound of gunfire about 15 minutes earlier but had dismissed it as an obnoxious hunter in the nearby woods.

Rosen said he called the kids' parents, who quickly picked them up. Moments later, he got an emotional visit from a mother looking for her son.
 
"She said, 'Is my boy here?' Then said the boy's name...he was a casualty."
 
Still reeling, Rosen hopes we can all learn from the children who lived through the events of last Friday.
 
"I want these childrens' goodness, their absolute goodness, to point us in the right direction."
 
Gene Rosen, a 69 year-old retired psychologist, credits his grandkids-- not his profession, for helping him deal with the situation and keep the kids calm.
 

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