The new Sandy Hook School is opening. I thought I would share this article about Neil Heslin, father of Jesse Lewis; a six year old boy killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Please click the link to go to People.com and read the whole article.
On the chilly Friday morning of Dec. 14, 2012, Neil Heslin walked his 6-year-old son, Jesse Lewis, into Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Connecticut.
Heslin watched as the first grader ambled down the hallway, carrying his trusty Disney Cars backpack – and hoping his class would make gingerbread houses that afternoon.
"That was the last time I saw him," Heslin, 55, told PEOPLE on Friday, looking back almost four years on the day his son died.
Just after 9:30 a.m. local time, in what would become one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history, authorities say 19-year-old gunman Adam Lanza stormed Sandy Hook, killing Lewis, 19 other first graders and six educators, including Lewis' teacher, Victoria Soto, and principal Dawn Hochsprung, slain trying to protect their students.
On Friday, Heslin returned to the site of his son's death – and now the site of the new Sandy Hook Elementary School, which opened to the public the same day.
He carried Lewis' backpack.
"I brought [my son] to school with a book bag and hours later he came out of the school in a body bag," Heslin tells PEOPLE. He says he left the school that day in 2012 at 9:04 a.m. and sat in the parking lot until about 9:20 a.m., reading emails.
"I had just left the school when everything happened," he says.
'I Feel Numb'
On that terrible morning, Lewis urged nine classmates huddling in a corner to escape when the shooter's gun jammed, saving their lives, Heslin says. After Lewis yelled, "Run!" the gunman shot him in the head, Heslin says.
"He was a hero," he says.