Conn. Neighbor Sheltered 6 Kids Who Fled Gunman

Terrified children had to run past body of dead teacher

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 18, 2012 2:32 AM CST

(Newser) – A neighbor who sheltered six traumatized children who fled the Sandy Hook school shooting has shared his story with the AP. Gene Rosen left his home Friday morning to find six children sitting at the end of his driveway being comforted by a school bus driver. The 69-year-old retired psychologist, who had heard gunfire 15 minutes earlier, took the two boys and four girls into his home for hours, giving them juice and stuffed animals and listening to their horrific story as he tried to contact their parents. The children had apparently had to run past the body of teacher Victoria Soto, who reportedly died trying to save her students from the gunman.

"They said he had a big gun and a little gun," says Rosen, who did not wish to discuss other details the children shared. At one point, a little boy lightened the mood when he turned to him and said, "Just saying, your house is very small," recalls Rosen, who says his experience as a grandparent helped him more that day than his training as a psychologist. He broke down in tears as he recounted how, hours after the last child had left, a frantic mother arrived at his house looking for her son. "She thought maybe a miracle from God would have the child at my house," he says, but later, "I looked at the casualty list ... and his name was on it."

Gene Rosen shows some of the stuffed animals he entertained the children with in Newtown, Conn.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Gene Rosen becomes emotional as he describes Friday's events in an interview with the AP.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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