"Mrs. Soto! Mrs. Soto! She's gone," they said in unison.
One of the girls said she watched the teacher fall to the ground.
Without prompting, one of the boys added, "He had a big gun and he had a little gun."
The other boy said, "Yeah, yeah, he had a big gun and a little gun."
Then they both began anew their chilling cry. "We can't go back to school. We can't go back to school ..."
Blowing Mom a kiss
Grace McDonnell, 7, enjoyed Sandy Hook Elementary School with its loving teachers and inviting learning environment. Earlier in the week she had a stomachache, and her mother suggested she stay home.
"No way," the girl said. "I have too much fun there, and I don't want to miss anything."
Eager to learn, Grace would pack her bag the night before school and skip to the bus stop when it was time to leave.
The night before the tragedy, Mom and Dad tucked their only daughter in bed. "See you in the morning," Chris McDonnell told her. "Don't let the bed bugs bite."
Mom often joked that her daughter was so full of life "she would talk from the minute she woke up until the minute she went to bed. We were always, 'It's time for bed, Grace. It's time for bed, Grace.'"
That Friday morning was like any other school day, a whirlwind of activity before heading out the door. She skipped down the road and boarded the school bus.
Grace blew her mother a kiss, as she always did. An endearing final image.
'Luckiest guy in the room'
Bear was one of two third-graders chosen by their teacher for the important job of class helper. The pair headed out of the room that morning to deliver an attendance report to the office.
As they neared the office, gunshots rang out. Bear said he could see bullets flying by. Smoke filled the air.
The two children froze, like deer in headlights. A second-grade teacher saw the children were in harm's way, raced toward them and grabbed them. She pulled them into a bathroom with other children and barricaded the door.
"If she didn't do that, I don't know," said Bear's father, Andrei Nikitchyuk.
Nikitchyuk and his wife were filled with anxiety when they realized the robocall was real. Rumors were rampant. Parents were panicked. Police were everywhere.
A Ukrainian native, Nikitchyuk came to the United States in 1992 shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He had always felt safe here and had been fortunate enough to live the American dream.