“Sandy Hook Elementary School,” another oncology nurse read aloud from the treatment room television. “Isn’t that where your kids go?”
It was December 14, 2012. A Friday. Sophia was in second grade. The twins, Arielle and Noah, were in first. Veronique couldn’t tell what was happening. One of her patients shouted: “You’ve got to go!”It was normally a 40-minute drive from New Britain, Connecticut, medical center to Newtown, almost all highway. Veronique drove over 80 miles per hour. She called her children’s father and left choking messages. She sucked in air in rapid, shallow gasps. Then the check engine light came on. It felt like a bad omen. Lenny Pozner was in Naugatuck, 20 miles from the school. When he and Veronique had separated a year earlier, he’d moved there and got a YMCA membership for himself and the kids. Earlier that morning, after dropping the children at school, he cued up a broadcast — it might have been Infowars’ Alex Jones — and got to the Y just in time for the 9:30 a.m. yoga class. Child’s pose. Savasana.
The first 911 call came in just after 9:35 a.m., reporting gunfire at Sandy Hook school. By the time Lenny finished yoga, his cell phone was buzzing with alerts. He ran to his car and called Veronique as he drove. The roads in the Sandy Hook part of Newtown were crowded with cars, satellite trucks, and emergency vehicles. Hundreds of students had already been evacuated to the nearby volunteer firehouse, led out of the school clinging onto one another with their eyes closed, as instructed. It was a tragic train of pink leggings and cartoon T-shirts. Veronique parked at a restaurant and ran. She found Lenny at the firehouse, then the girls. They waited for Noah.