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Connecticut mayor wants to name a school after slain teacher

Mourners attend the funeral service of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, teacher victim Victoria Soto, outside Lordship Community Churc
Mourners attend the funeral service of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, teacher victim Victoria Soto, outside Lordship Community Churc

By Mary Ellen Clark

MERIDEN, Connecticut (Reuters) - The mayor of Stratford, Connecticut, wants to rename an elementary school after teacher Victoria Soto, a resident of his town who was slain in last month's massacre at the Sandy Hook elementary school in nearby Newtown.

Victoria Soto, 27, was killed when she tried to protect her students from an armed gunman, who shot and killed 20 children and six students on December 14 before killing himself.

"What a fitting tribute to Victoria Soto, whose heroic efforts protected the very students she was there to educate, nurture and take care of," Mayor John Harkin said in a telephone interview on Monday. "Anything we do has to be done with the family's approval."

Police have said some of Soto's first grade students escaped the massacre, and she hid other students in a closet as the gunman approached.

Harkin said the family supports renaming a school in her honor and creating a memorial at the school. The project has the approval of the town's Board of Education members and some Town Council members, Harkin said. The council will vote on the plan January 14.

Authorities in Newtown continue to investigate the shooting by Adam Lanza, 20, who also killed his mother before driving to Sandy Hook Elementary to carry out the other killings. Lanza shot himself dead following the rampage.

Investigators have found that Lanza changed magazines frequently during the assault, at times shooting as few as 15 rounds from a 30-round magazine, according to the Hartford Courant, which cited unnamed sources.

The newspaper, in a report posted online Sunday night, also said Lanza wore earplugs during the rampage.

It said investigators believe the earplugs could have been the result of routines Lanza picked up at gun ranges, or meant to muffle screams of victims.

Connecticut police were not immediately available to comment on the report.

Meanwhile, about three dozen professional soccer players were scheduled to host a series of games and activities for Newtown residents on Monday. Among the players due to attend were Landon Donovan, Alexi Lalas and Mia Hamm.

(Editing by Paul Thomasch and David Gregorio)

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