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Stories of heroism and sacrifice also emerged Saturday.

According to one survivor, two of the women killed inside the school building, Principal Dawn Hochsprung, 47, and school psychologist Mary Sherlach, 56, died as heroes, rushing to try and overpower the shooter after he forced his way into the building.

“He was not voluntarily let into the school at all,” Lt. Vance said. “He forced his way in.”

On CNN, Maryann Jacob, a clerk in the school library, talked of herding 18 fourth-graders into a storage room, where they locked and barricade a door with a file cabinet. The school had practiced “lockdown” procedures before, she said, and their training kicked in. As they waited to be rescued, she said she and the other adults kept the children busy with “paper and crayons.”

Robert Licata told reporters his 6-year-old son was in class when the shooter burst in and shot his teacher, 27-year-old Victoria Soto. “That’s when my son grabbed a bunch of his friends and ran out the door,” he said. “He was very brave. He waited for his friends.”

His son, Mr. Licata said, told him the shooter didn’t utter a word.

Ms. Soto’s cousin, James Willsie, told ABC News that she had “put herself between the gunman and the kids.”

Teacher Kaitlin Roig told ABC News that she begged her students to be quiet.

“I told them we had to be absolutely quiet. Because I was just so afraid if he did come in, then he would hear us and just start shooting the door. I said we have to be absolutely quiet. And I said there are bad guys out there now and we need to wait for the good guys to come get us out. If they started crying, I would take their face and say, ‘It’s going to be OK. Show me your smile,’ ” she said.

Robbie Parker, the father of 6-year-old shooting victim Emilie Parker, choked back tears on Saturday night as he faced reporters and cameras.

“As the deep pain begins to settle into our hearts, we find comfort reflecting on the incredible person Emilie was,” Mr. Parker said. “As we move on from what happened here, what happened to so many people, let us not let it turn into something that defines us. Let us please keep the sentiments of love that we feel for our families.”

Many in the small, affluent Connecticut community were still struggling Saturday to comprehend the scope of the tragedy.

“We’re blown away by just how sick and grotesque it was. It’s not something the people here were mentally prepared for,” said Ricky Andrews, a 24-year-old accountant and lifelong resident of Newtown.

Like dozens of others on Saturday night, Mr. Andrews sought refuge at a local gathering spot, the Blue Colony Diner, only a few miles from Sandy Hook Elementary.

“This town isn’t used to this kind of traffic or this kind of attention,” he said as he stood outside the diner, just before he and his girlfriend went inside.

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