Newtown shooting: Dylan Hockley's parents recall attack

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Media captionThe Hockleys told the BBC they intend to stay in Newtown

The mother of a British boy shot in the Newtown school massacre has wept as she told how she learned of his death.

Dylan Hockley, six, was one of 20 children and six teachers killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Connecticut, on 14 December.

Speaking to BBC News, Dylan's mother Nicole recalled "shaking" and not being able to stop as police revealed their son was among the gunman's victims.

His father Ian urged the US to address its gun control laws immediately.


The Hockley family, formerly of Eastleigh, Hampshire, moved to the Newtown area two years ago from the UK with Dylan and his older brother Jake.

Describing the moment he heard of the attack, Mr Hockley said: "I was at work and an email came through the school messenger system saying the school was in lockdown.

"Then the local media reporting said 'shooting at the school' - that was quite a shock. And as we were driving over, I happened to pick up on social media, not just one person shot but 26 people dead."

The couple met at a nearby fire station before arriving at the school.

Mrs Hockley described looking for Dylan: "After a while, as the kids were all leaving with their parents, you just start wandering around thinking 'Where's mine?'."

Image caption Ian and Nicole Hockley said being "strong" for their other son Jake had helped to keep them going

It was a police officer who broke the news to the families still waiting for their youngsters.

"The police confirmed that 20 children had been shot and the room erupted. And I remember I started shaking - and I just couldn't stop for the life of me," said Mrs Hockley.

"But everyone's thinking, which kids? It's not mine - there's more than 20 people in this room, there's got to be more than 20 families, it's not mine."

Mr Hockley added: "It was around three o'clock that they came in to give their status report, and it had to be announced at that point that everybody that was left in the school was dead.

"And that's really when everybody in the room realised that whoever they were missing - whether it was one of the adults or one of the children - that they were gone."

Dylan's body was later found in the embrace of his classroom assistant, Anne Marie Murphy.


"Dylan was wrapped in Mrs Murphy's arms," explained Mrs Hockley. "She was protecting several children, but Dylan was the one that was actually in her arms. And that helps a little bit."

Mrs Hockley described the need to "be strong" for their other son, Jake.

"You also have to devote a significant amount of time to your child that's still alive, and maintain a sense of a new normality - for his sake - to help him get through this. And that helps us get through it as well."

On Monday, the couple joined other Sandy Hook families to mark one month since the attack, which was carried out by lone gunman, Adam Lanza.

Lanza killed himself at the end of a killing spree that had started with him shooting dead his mother.

Funeral services for victims have been attended by hundreds of mourners over the last few weeks, and children from the primary school have started a new term at a new, renovated site.

The family said that despite the tragedy, they would continue living in the area. "Newtown is a wonderful place, and this single event isn't going to undermine that," said Mrs Hockley.

Gun debate

The shooting has revived fierce debate over the US's controversial gun control laws, with some pro-gun politicians saying it has prompted them to change their views on the issue.

Mr Hockley urged Washington to act on a number of different areas, saying: "The unthinkable has happened. All the shootings that have come before have indeed been terrible tragedies, but now it's sunk so low that very small children have now been the target of this.

"How could it possibly get worse? If they cannot address this now, it's as if they think they can never address it and they will give up and this will go on."

The Obama administration is due to unveil plans to tighten gun laws, after President Barack Obama tasked his deputy, Joe Biden, with establishing a set of "concrete proposals".

Mr Obama has said he will call for a renewed ban on assault weapons - which lapsed in 2004.

The White House has also suggested the president would back other gun control measures on high-capacity ammunition clips, as well as closing loopholes that allow people to buy guns without background checks.

The National Rifle Association, a powerful US lobby group, argues against more regulation, saying teachers in schools should be armed in order to better defend students if a shooting occurs.

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