Conn. shooting survivor to attend Obama address
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A teacher injured in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting is planning to attend the President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, an official said Friday.
Natalie Hammond, the lead teacher at the school, will be the guest of U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, the congresswoman’s spokesman, Jeb Fain, said. Hammond is one of two wounded survivors of the Dec. 14 shooting in Newtown, where a gunman killed six staff members and 20 first-graders.
A brother of one of the teachers who was killed, Victoria Soto, also is planning to attend Tuesday’s speech, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro said. Soto died trying to shield her students from the gunman inside the school.
DeLauro, who invited Carlos Soto as her guest, said it is important for people affected by gun violence to put a human face on the issue.
‘‘Having Carlos at the State of the Union will be a powerful reminder that the victims of gun violence are not statistics,’’ DeLauro said. ‘‘And they are not even just the people who are physically wounded by a bullet. They are parents, siblings, families, co-workers and friends.’’
Reps. DeLauro; Jim Langevin, D-R.I.; David Cicilline, D-R.I.; Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y.; and Keith Ellison, D-Minn., recently wrote a letter urging their Democratic House colleagues to invite someone whose life was affected by gun violence as guests for the State of the Union speech.
In his address, Obama is expected to try to rally support for his calls to ban certain weapons and enact universal background checks for gun buyers.
The Sandy Hook gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, killed his mother in their Newtown home before driving to the school. After carrying out the massacre, he committed suicide as police arrived.
Officials in Victoria Soto’s hometown of Stratford renamed a school last month in her honor. Carlos Soto attends Stratford High School, where Victoria graduated in 2003.