Daughter of slain Sandy Hook principal thanks ‘woman in the Target parking lot’ five years later

“Your compassion is a bright spot in my memory of that dark day,” Tina Hassinger wrote.

Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsprung.
Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsprung. –Jennifer Donovan / Newtown Patch via Reuters, File

Tina Hassinger remembers exactly where she was five years ago today when her sister called to tell her that there had been a shooting at their mother’s school.

Hassinger, the daughter of slain Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung, who ran toward danger in an attempt to save her students that horrific day, recounted the moment in a moving Facebook post on Thursday morning.

It was mid-morning, maybe 10:00. My older boys were at school, and I was shopping with my younger children. Charlie was two years old, Alyson just five months.

We were in the dairy aisle, just about ready to check out when my phone rang. It was my sister calling to tell me there’d been a shooting at Sandy Hook, the elementary school where my mom was the principal.

I didn’t know yet that she had been killed.

Hassinger wrote that her “memory of what happened over the next several hours is patchy.” And now she wants to thank “the woman in the Target parking lot” who comforted her and followed her home.

You asked if I was okay to drive and offered to follow me home, to make sure we got there safely. I think I told you no, that it really wasn’t necessary. But you insisted.

When we got to my house, I don’t think we spoke again. Did I wave my thanks as you drove off? Or did you wait in your car to watch as we disappeared inside?

I don’t remember your face. And I never asked your name. But I remember your kindness, five years later.

Erica Lafferty, Hassinger’s sister, tweeted out the Facebook post in hopes of finding the woman. Earlier in the day, she posted a tribute to their mother.


Read Hassinger’s full post below:


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