Newtown Massacre: Teacher Vicki Soto's Heroics Remembered (With CBS News Video)
First grade teacher Victoria Soto was one of the victims in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT. Photo Credit: Myschooldesk.net
Scroll down for CBS News reporter Peter Van Sant's video report on Soto.
(CBS News) Amid the horror at Sandy Hook Elementary on Friday, there was heroism. Surviving children at Sandy Hook Elementary were witness to the ultimate example, a teacher who gave her life to save theirs. CBS News spoke with the parents of a child who escaped the massacre.
Robert and Diane Licata's children are now safe at home. Much has happened since the shootings on Friday. But on Saturday afternoon when CBS News spoke with the parents, the emotions were still raw, and the story their 6-year-old son told them, beyond imagining.
Robert Licata said of his son, "He's an amazingly brave little boy. He's doing OK. We're trying to explain things to him in a way he understands."
Robert and Diane Licata are faced with explaining the unexplainable. Their 6-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter were both at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday morning. The parents asked we not use their children's names. As of Saturday afternoon, they hadn't told their son his teacher had died.
Robert Licata said, "He's obviously upset. He wants to know about his teacher, how his teacher is doing. We're explaining to him that we don't know, but if something did happen, that they're in heaven. And they're angels."
His teacher was Vicki Soto. Known for her dedication to her students, Soto had just turned 27 years old. Diane Licata said of Soto, "She was an absolutely amazing teacher. She was just so young and so full of life and educating got her so excited and teaching those children, it was what she loved to do."
Diane Licata was driving at 9:45 Friday morning when she got an emergency message from the school district -- a report of an unconfirmed shooting. She made a U-turn and headed toward Sandy Hook Elementary.
Diane Licata said, "I saw my daughter's teacher, and I asked her where my daughter was. And she said she didn't know because they were separated."
Diane Licata said she was "completely numb" in that moment. She added, "You're trying not to let your mind go to all the bad places."
After an agonizing wait, the children who survived the shooting began to file out. Suddenly, Diane Licata spotted her daughter.
"She just said 'Mommy what's happening?' and I said, 'I don't know what's happening, so just stay with your class, go to the fire station, stay with your friends, and Daddy will be here', " Diane Licata recalled.
"So Robert went to the station and I said, 'I'm gonna wait here for our son to come out.' And he didn't come. So each group that came out, I waited. And I prayed that he would be with that group. And he never came out. So I really, at that point, really didn't know if I would ever see him again. At that point, I got a text from a friend. And it simply said that our son was at the police station."