Sandy Hook Victim Dylan Hockley: A ‘Beautiful Butterfly’ Whose Life Was Cut Short

Hundreds of people gathered to remember the life of Dylan Hockley, a young boy with autistic spectrum disorder struck down in the mass shootings in Newtown, Conn.

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Joshua Lott / Reuters

Jake Hockley releases balloons as people look on during the funeral service for his brother, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Dylan Hockley, at Walnut Community Church in Bethel, Conn., Dec. 21, 2012.

A blue-eyed first grader at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, Dylan Christopher Jack Hockley loved trampolines, plain spaghetti with garlic bread and the color purple. On Friday, purple was everywhere at the Walnut Hill Community Church in nearby Bethel—his mother’s blouse, his father’s shirt, his brother’s tie—as hundreds of people packed in for his funeral.

On Dec. 14, Dylan, who was six-and-three-quarters and autistic, was killed in the arms of his special education teacher, Anne Marie Murphy, when a lone gunman entered his classroom and opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle. Twenty students, five teachers and the principal were killed at Sandy Hook in what became one of the worst mass shootings in American history.

(MORE: The Re-Making of Newtown: Will Tragedy Make It Stronger?)

Now, as the final funeral processions weave through the streets of Newtown, Conn. and surrounding communities, residents oscillate between past and present tense while referring to the victims as they search for ways to move beyond the tragedy. The media hordes have grown smaller but traffic on the main road through town is still congested, and while people here were initially comforted by the roadside memorials that have sprung up on every other corner, some say they’re just distractions that will eventually be torn down. At one, near the school, a stuffed bear is gripped protectively by a larger one, just as Dylan was last Friday morning.

John Dischinger, one of the pastors at Walnut Hill, opened the ceremony by urging the congregation to replace hatred with love, and darkness with light, in order to properly celebrate Dylan’s life. “I don’t know about you, but I think we’ve had enough darkness,” he said. A woman on the stage then began singing “Hallelujah”—Dylan’s favorite song from Shrek—rewritten with happier lyrics for the service.

His mother, Nicole, spoke of the “special” bonds that Dylan shared with his teachers, Victoria Soto and Murphy. “At the firehouse, I was looking for Mrs. Murphy because I knew no matter what, she would be with Dylan,” she said. First-responders found Murphy cradling Dylan in her arms—an apparent effort to shield him and others from the bullets.

Services for Murphy, 52 and a mother of four, were held Thursday in Katonah, N.Y., where she lived before settling in Newtown. “Annie laid down her life for her friends,” said Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Archibishop of New York, at her memorial service. Her life, he said, and the sacrifice she made for Dylan, “brings light, truth, goodness and love to a world often shrouded in darkness, evil, selfishness and death.”

(MORE: The NRA Responds to Newtown: America Needs More ‘Good Guys’ with Guns)

“Her family confirmed to us that she died trying to protect Dylan,” Nicole Hockley said at her son’s memorial service, with her husband Ian by her side. They took comfort, she said, in the fact that he wasn’t alone—that he was never alone.

Throughout the service, friends of the family approached the podium and recounted stories of how they came to know the Hockleys and their youngest brown-haired boy. One woman recalled the first time he ate chocolate cake and how he would laugh while tirelessly rewinding parts of movies that he found funny. Above the stage, two screens displayed family photos and home movies of Dylan with his parents and his eight-year-old brother, Jake. When one clip showed Dylan popping out of a box on the floor, grinning, the hall filled with laughter.

At one point, his mother told a story about asking Dylan why he would sometimes flap his arms up and down when he got excited, as some autistic children are known to do. She wasn’t expecting a response because his language skills were still underdeveloped, but he did answer: “Because I am a beautiful butterfly.”

(MORE: Twenty Brighter Stars: Shocked Conn. Town Mourns Its Slain Children)

“He helped us to be stronger people than we might have been without him,” Dylan’s father said. He and Nicole moved with the boys from the U.K. to Newtown almost two years ago and were convinced that Dylan would flourish here. “Newtown just felt right,” he added, thanking the emergency response personnel who had aided the community since the morning of the shooting. “We’ll never regret this decision.”

Shortly before they finished speaking, Nicole made a veiled nod to the renewed nationwide calls for increased gun control. “I believe that Dylan and the others are a catalyst,” she said. “His death will have meaning. There will be a positive change from this. We’ll be part of it. Newtown will be part of it.” Right before the two stepped off stage to a standing ovation, Ian concluded their statements by saying:  “We love you so much, Dylan. Our beautiful, beautiful butterfly.”

Following the service, the congregation gathered outside. As a band played “Amazing Grace,” Dylan’s brother Jake released 26 balloons—20 of them purple to represent the children, and six of them white for the adults — into the gray, cloudy sky. A moment later, one final purple balloon was freed, speeding up to catch to the others. Clutching Jake close to her, Nicole wiped a few tears from her eyes and watched them fly away.

MORE: Sandy Hook Shooting: The Speculation About Adam Lanza Must Stop
MORE: The Teacher as Hero: Mourning Victoria Soto

19 comments
dontn123
dontn123

Something is NOT RIGHT.....this character and actions are consistent among all the other interviews toooo.....these are not made up or doctored as they are straight from the NEWS BROADCAST remember them?  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKWgCRBR5qE

dontn123
dontn123

If you do not fear evil then watch the video link....I dare you because you will see the FACE and ACTS of EVIL.

dontn123
dontn123

More then 60,000 right now and growing want Piers Morgan removed from CNN and deported for subversion against the USA Govt. Please go sign up if nothing else as a joke and let's see what happens to him. Surely we can sacrifice one Brit for good humor if it works? The Brits would not allow an American to talk badly about the Queen of England nor the laws of Britian if in their Country. The freedom of speech first amendment only applies USA citizen. And since he, Morgan has no regard for 2 amendment should not try to use 1st amendment to defend - again he in not USA citizen. In a tweet Piers Morgan admitted he cares not about Sandy HOOK and relished in fact it gave him a bigger voice. Go sign up and let's see what happens just for fun.

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/deport-british-citizen-piers-morgan-attacking-2nd-amendment/prfh5zHD

Surfboat
Surfboat

A machine gun that shoots nickles propelled by air pressure would have taken this guy out without lethal force.  If 3 teachers had drawn down on him with nickle machine guns they would still be pulling them out of his teeth.   Free flying Tasers would have also immobilized him.  

dontn123
dontn123

TRUTH ABOUT GUN BAN

"On December 17, 2012, Senator Feinstein announced the key provisions of the bill she intends to introduce. The proposed legislation will ban the sale, transfer, importation and manufacturing of over 100 specific firearms. Also banned will be certain named semiautomatic rifles, handguns and shotguns that can use a detachable magazine, as well as fixed magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds.

The sale, transfer, importation and manufacturing of other ammunition feeding devices that can accept more than 10 rounds will also be banned."

http://www.decodedscience.com/new-assault-weapons-ban-no-gun-seizure/22871

You better read it and read it well for more then 100 different guns Many Many Many More then just AR15.....it is hand guns, shot guns, and rifles, so on.... Wake Up



Read more: http://ideas.time.com/2012/12/18/the-myth-of-second-amendment-exceptionalism/#ixzz2FwrOp36w

Surfboat
Surfboat

@dontn123 I believe that Ms. Feinstein would do better to consider that the shooter's mother who knew that her son had mental problems had a duty to the community to forewarn  that she was putting guns within his reach.  That crime has gone unreported.

maria808
maria808 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Dylan will save the lives of so many other beautiful kids! 

Our children are more important than these twisted "rights" that let almost anyone buy semi-automatic assault rifles, really, quite twisted the mentality of these "guns rights"  folks. It is different from owning a rifle for hunting or a handgun for protection,

It is insane that most anyone in US can buy a military grade assault rifle meant for only killing multiple people.

If you are a skilled hunter of game you should be able to use something other than that!

 Am sick of these idiots who are so mentally ill  in their heads they try to justify more guns based on this horrific tragedy!

The NRA blew it with their ugly statement,shameful,sick and cowardly just like the ones responsible for this horror,

We need to make this country safe from people like the ones responsible that "loved" guns... sorry i love my children more!

dontn123
dontn123

@maria808 What did you expect the NRA to say?   What were they suppose to apologize to you and others for?  Again what did you expect them to say?

dontn123
dontn123

@maria808  The Govt in this Country has had data available for years about school shootings.  The FBI and Secret Service have done risk assessments and these school shooting reports are available online.  It is amazing how many people are just sheep in this Country.  The GOVT have created BENGHAZI situations in our schools for years - WHY?

I have family members the same way:  they are way over debt, believe everything the news media - Govt tells them and otherwise do not want to hear anything else.  It used to be called FAT, DUMB, and Happy. SO is that a sickness or is that the way it should be?

dontn123
dontn123

Throughout History children have been killed by Evil People. Read where guns have righted the wrong. Educate yourself and ask why the murders happen in free fire zones where law abiding citizens have been disarmed. Why do the murderers choose places where guns are banned? For the love of God at least acknowledge people aren.t so blind they can't see the areas that are being hit by murderers are banned from guns.....what should that tell you?

Our current Govt fears weapons and given the history as demoed in video link they have a good reason. The current USA Govt loves Criminals.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XDd64suDz1A

CobaltBomb
CobaltBomb like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@dontn123 Sorry. The NRA, you, and your kind no longer get to control and manipulate the dialogue for your own ends. You gave up that right when you failed miserably to police yourself and others.

Surfboat
Surfboat

@CobaltBomb @dontn123 It is interesting that a powerful pellet gun would have done much to slow this shooter down.  3 pellet guns would have stopped him and made him beg for mercy.  A pnuematic repeater crossbow firing  momentary tasers would have also been an effective immobilizer.  How about a robot that fires dynamic tennis balls at the source of gunfire.  I think you are right,  there are many many potential reasonable preparatory responses to this.

dontn123
dontn123

@CobaltBomb @dontn123 Just have to wait and see.  Those that give up liberties and freedom to get safety deserve neither.  Your GOVT will be more then glad you show you later. I hope you get what you want.  

CobaltBomb
CobaltBomb

@dontn123 Who said anything about giving up liberty or freedom? We're talking about assault rifles and high capacity magazines. Neither of which is specifically mentioned in the U.S. Constitution so there is a lot of room for leeway. You don't have a right to an A-bomb, submarine or howitzer either. Your and Wayne's arguments are weak.  

JimSage
JimSage

@dontn123  I disagree. The 20 children who so nobly laid down their lives for our freedom in Newtown were martyrs and heroes, not victims. Their deaths should not be mourned, but celebrated. They were like the 4-year-olds in Iraq and Afghanistan who give their lives to drones and missiles for our freedom.

dontn123
dontn123

@JimSage @dontn123 I believe the children were sacrificed to try and undo what has opposed Our Govt from installing a King for many years that would be constitution. bill of rights. and steel teeth of second amendment. So would say the children that were murdered were Sacrificial Lambs. Where was their protection in an area that was banned from guns?

How many of the Children were Jewish? In the halocaust

dontn123
dontn123

@JimSage I understood your post and appreciate the comments. I am on tired of the News Media - have sat by and watched it erode more and more everyday. It is time to speak out and say my piece. I think more Vets should come out of the shadows and talk too. We have killed a lot of families over the last 20 years in foreign countries in the name of freedom. The Patriot Act is a bad joke. ....they hate our freedom so lets make restrictions...the govt is the same regardless of party.

dontn123
dontn123

In holocaust how many we're children? There are Jews in this Country and around the World that think the Gentiles are put on this planet as their servants nothing more then animals like dumb cows. Don.t get me wrong not all Jews are bad but like everything else there are undesirables. To the Liberals - I am an undesirable and I think likewise to them. none the less would not wish harm upon their children. I will never fight in Wars for the rich of this Country again however will say and defend for Rights as written for this Country which means second amendment.

I believe Sandy Hook is an American Holocaust and Our Govt is at Fault for not protecting the children that were murdered.

JimSage
JimSage

@dontn123 I agree, that is what I am saying, the children died nobly to defend the steel teeth of second amendment just like the soldiers in our revolutionary war or the catholic children who have given their virginity in defense of our freedom of worship.

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