Child survivor of US massacre recounts moments of terror

A+
A
A-

Mourners gather for a candlelight vigil at Ram’s Pasture to remember shooting victims, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. AP FILE PHOTO

NEWTOWN, Connecticut — Nine-year-old Nicholas Sabillon was remarkably composed as he recounted how the Connecticut gunman who killed his schoolmates pounded on the locked door of the room where he was hiding.

He shouted “Let me in, let me in!” said Nicholas, who was interviewed with his parents Jose and Sherry.

When the first shots rang out at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday, music teacher Maryrose Kristopik ushered Nicholas’ class into a large closet and quickly locked the door. “We held onto the instruments to not make any noise,” said Nicholas, who clutched a gong.

“We were all really scared and then we prayed… Miss Kristopik gave us all lollipops. We thought it would be our last snack.

“Then we heard this glass shatter and we were all scared, and we heard knocking on the class door from the outside. Luckily, we were all quiet, and the guy was talking ‘Let me in, let me in!’ and we never opened the door.”

The shooter, identified as Adam Lanza, 20, eventually left the room and shot himself dead. Soon after, police officers swarmed into the school.

“The police made a line, they had guns pointing into all the rooms,” said Nicholas. “We ran down the center of them and we went outside.”

The class bolted across the recess yard, and the students ran “as fast as we could” to the nearby fire station, Nicholas recalled. At the station, they settled down, and firefighters gave them water and saltine crackers.

“Then our teacher came in and he was crying because he didn’t know if we were all safe,” said Nicholas. “We all hugged him as soon as he got in.”

His mother Sherry said she received a text message about shots heard around the school, but assumed that they were accidentally fired by a deer hunter.

“The next thing you know, a text came through saying that there was a shooting at the school. I tried to get 911 and they told me to call the Newtown police number. I called them and it was busy. I called my husband and he was already en route to the school.”

Initially, police told parents to stay away from the school, but once the site was secured, they were told to go to the fire station, where the survivors had gathered.

Sherry rushed in and immediately saw a friend Nicholas has known since he was a toddler, who was with his father. Nicholas was close by.

“I was so relieved I was kissing and hugging RJ, Nicky’s buddy, and then I was kissing and hugging Nicholas,” she said.

Sherry and her husband then searched the fire station for children of family friends. “There were some kids that were crying and were very emotional, and other children were just in shock,” she said.

At the time, parents were only told of three shootings — the principal, the school psychologist and someone who was hit in the foot.

“There was not one mention of children,” Sherry said. “We would never have thought that children were injured.”

For hours, she listened, incredulous, to news reports of an ever-increasing death toll.

Lanza slaughtered his own mother, six adults working at the school and 20 young children aged just six or seven before turning a gun on himself. He was armed with a military-style rifle and two handguns.

Nicholas did not mention seeing any bodies or blood, but the experience remained harrowing nonetheless.

“When you go to bed, it feels scary, and you keep having this dream in your head about it,” he said. “Because if you lived it, it’s always stuck in your head.”

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • catmanjohn

    My deepest heartfelt condolences to the victims, family, and friends of this horrific massacre. In attempts to comprehend this tragedy, one must know the ways of the devil.
    Evil visited Sandy Hook on Friday morning, but the seeds of this demonic act was planted many years ago. The question must be asked why and when did Nancy Danza begin taking up firearms. Did something happen that caused her to feel that she had to take that route?
    This incident is not just about gun control, it is about the combination of ills that plague our society which we seem to wish to want to sweep under the rug, such as child molestation, isolation and alienation in puberty, violence in video games which they discovered Adam Danza was immersed in, and the accessibility of deadly firearms. All these subjects should be touched upon so that we may understand what happened, and hopefully find remedies for.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5QJUD47DAPM2Y5J3AEMCE2C624 John TWT

    I do believe the desensitization of kids over violent behavior caused by video games (and movies) is one among the greatest factors in cases like this.

    It’s so unfair that the children are the ones to suffer for our follies!

  • w33k3nd3r

    Nicholas Sabillon, you are blessed to survive such a terrifying experience. May you be blesse continuously with the fortitude and the temperance to have peace of mind and heart. As John Lennon said, which is very true for your part; “We live in a world where we have to hide to make love and where violence is practiced in broad day light.” You are blessed, Nicholas and I pray you continue to be.

  • pinakatagotago

    oh stories like this just makes you cringe and sigh and cry and pray it won’t happen to you or to any of your loved ones especially the helpless children. (kurot sa puso)

    rest in peace little ones… rest in peace heroic school staffs.

  • ed_nique

    sad and tragic event with so many victims …

    28 dead (yes, even adam is a victim here. we may never know what drove him to commit this horrible act,) may they rest in peace

    but, i’m also concerned for the survivors, specially the children. who knows how this will affect them psychologically … they too should be included in our prayers

  • Lapu Lapu

    America will never learn from these gun violence tragedies.

    The law makers got blood in their hands.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KAAEZZZL7OMMZ5K4KCFETADLSM jerome

    @Lapu Lapu, you can never blame law makers for this. Every country has its different culture try and read about it from Australia, Switzerland, Britain, Canada. Some country even has total gun ban but still encounters it. America is a melting pot of different culture and beliefs that is why this things happen and even on the early times Americans are born with the gun. You just can not blame it on law makers. As a citizen it is everyones responsibility from gun shops, owners, police and law makers.

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks

advertisement

popular

advertisement

videos