Teacher Victoria Soto was one of the heroic victims - New York News

Teacher Victoria Soto was one of the heroic victims

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Sandy Hook elementary school teacher Victoria Leigh Soto is being called a hero for protecting students during the shooting rampage before she was killed by the gunman. 

A picture of the 27-year-old Soto was taken just last week at Sandy Hook school where this teacher of five years loved her first graders so much she referred to them as her kids. 

Her cousin Jim Wiltsie says Vicki was very career oriented. She held a double degree in history and education and was just about done with her Masters. 

The last time Jim saw his cousin was Thursday night, ironically at a wake. The next morning a gunman cut her life short, but not before she tried to protect her kids. 

Soto was found in her classroom with the kids she huddled them in a closet and was trying to protect them from the gunman's bullets. 

Soto loved the beach and grew up in Stratford where she was currently living. She leaves behind her parents and three younger siblings and her black lab Roxie. Fox 5 asked Jim what Vicki would say about all that's happened. 

"The comfort is knowing that Vicki passed away doing what she loved to do and we're proud to know that and it brings peace to the family to know she was protecting those kids  -- regardless of the intimate details that took place Sin that classroom with the monster that came in. Her instincts were to get those kids out of harm's way and that's exactly what she did and unfortunately, she lost her life doing that -- trying to protect her kids in the face of danger and she did instinctively what was in her heart -- be a teacher," said Wiltsie.  

A candlelight vigil was held Saturday night at Stratford High School for Vicki. There have been no other arrangements made yet at this time.  

An official said the gunman came into her classroom last and he was also found in the same classroom.

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