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Newtown Elementary School Shooting

newtown-memorialA gunman opened fire in a Connecticut elementary school on December 14, killing 26 people — 20 of them children. All of the children were either 6 or 7 years old. The gunman also killed his mother, police said.

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The father of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter Adam Lanza said his son would have killed him if he’d had the opportunity.

adam-lanza

Adam Lanza, 20, shot 26 people dead, 20 of them schoolchildren, and then shot himself at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012. (Credit: Rex / Rex USA)

“With hindsight, I know Adam would have killed me in a heartbeat, if he’d had the chance,” Peter Lanza told New Yorker magazine in an interview that appears in the March 17 issue.

It’s the first time Peter Lanza has spoken publicly about his son.

“The reason he shot Nancy four times was one for each of us: one for Nancy; one for him; one for (his brother) Ryan; one for me,” he said.

Authorities say Adam Lanza, 20, killed his mother, Nancy, before fatally shooting 20 children, six staff members and himself at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.

Peter Lanza said his son talked with many mental health professionals but none saw violent tendencies in his personality.

He said he may have overlooked troubling signs himself by accepting a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome, though he doesn’t think Asperger’s caused the violence.

“Asperger’s makes people unusual, but it doesn’t make people like this,” he said.

He also said his ex-wife didn’t detect the potential for violence.

“She never confided to her sister or best friend about being worried,” he said. “She slept with her bedroom door unlocked and kept guns in the house, which she would not have done if she were frightened.”

Peter Lanza said he thought his son was “a normal, weird little kid” but by the time he reached middle school “it was crystal clear something was wrong.”

“The social awkwardness, the uncomfortable anxiety, unable to sleep, stress, unable to concentrate, having a hard time learning, the awkward walk, reduced eye contact,” he said. “You could see the changes occurring.”

He said he thinks about his son and the massacre every waking hour.

“You can’t get any more evil,” he said. “How much do I beat up on myself about the fact that he’s my son? A lot.”

He said he’s offered to meet victims of the shooting and two families took him up on the offer.

“It’s gut-wrenching,” he said. “A victim’s family member told me that they forgave Adam after we spent three hours talking. I didn’t even know how to respond. A person that lost their son, their only son.”

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama marked the one-year anniversary of the Newtown, Conn. school shooting Saturday by lighting candles and observing a moment of silence in the White House.

Obama-Moment-of-Silence

President and Mrs. Obama lit 26 candles, one for each victim, Dec. 14, 2013, Washington, D.C. (Credit: CNN)

The Obamas entered the Map Room at 9:29 a.m. and lit 26 candles, one for each victim at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

After each candle was lit, the President and Mrs. Obama bowed their heads for a moment of silence, as the sound of photographers’ clicking cameras filled the room.

Mr. Obama did not make any remarks at the candle lighting.

In his weekly address, the President called for tighter gun control and expanded mental healthcare.

“We haven’t yet done enough to make our communities and our country safer,” the president said.

“We have to do more to keep dangerous people from getting their hands on a gun so easily. We have to do more to heal troubled minds.”

There will be no official ceremonies to mark the anniversary of the shooting because the victims’ families have asked for privacy.

Sandy-Hook-Memoria

A makeshift memorial was set up on the main road leading to Sandy Hook Elementary, Newtown, Conn., the week of Dec. 17, 2012. (Credit: CNN)

On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza walked into the school with a rifle and opened fire killing 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook.  Then he killed himself.

Lanza, 20, shot and killed his mother Nancy at their home before going to the school.

It was never determined why Lanza targeted Sandy Hook. He attended the school briefly, but there did not appear to be a recent connection.

Last month, the Connecticut state attorney’s office released its official report on what happened.

The investigation provided details into Lanza’s life and actions, but his motive remained a mystery.

CNN contributed to this report

“Newtown 911, what’s the location of your emergency?”

Newtown School Shooting LA Times Link Off

Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012. (Credit: Associated Press)

“We’ve got a shooting at theSandy Hook Elementary School.”

The 911 calls that poured into Newtown, Conn., police last Dec. 14 were handled by calm and firm dispatchers who directed a custodian to “take cover,” told a teacher to keep her kids away from the windows, and tried to reassure desperate callers as gunshots could be heard in the background.

Officials released recordings of the calls on Wednesday after a judge ordered them to do so, against the wishes of many Newtown residents, town leaders and the state’s attorney for the Danbury region, Stephen Sedensky III.

Click here to listen to the 911 calls.

Click here to read the full story on LATimes.com.

 

In the years leading up to the December 2012 massacre at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School, Adam Lanza went from a merely shy pre-teen to a mentally ill recluse obsessed with school shootings.

But during that long descent, Lanza never gave anyone any indication that he would one day turn a gun on his mother and then storm his onetime grade school with a semiautomatic rifle, killing 20 first-graders and six adults, investigators reported Monday.

Sandy Hook impromptu memorial continues to grow

A memorial near the Newtown firehouse in memory of those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School is shown in December 2012. (Credit: Mike M. Ahlers/CNN)

And so Connecticut authorities closed the book on the second-deadliest shooting in U.S. history with the motive still a mystery. Lanza shot himself at the end of his 11-minute rampage, and police found no sign that he “voiced or gave any indication to others that he intended to commit such a crime himself,” according to a 44-page summary of the investigation, released Monday.

“The evidence clearly shows that the shooter planned his actions, including the taking of his own life, but there is no clear indication why he did so, or why he targeted Sandy Hook Elementary School,” the report states.

Though he had attended Sandy Hook from first through fifth grades, investigators found no sign the 20-year-old was targeting any student, teacher or other employee at the school.

“In fact, as best as can be determined, the shooter had no prior contact with anyone in the school that day,” the report states.

Lanza “had significant mental health issues that affected his ability to live a normal life and to interact with others,” the report states. “What contribution this made to the shootings, if any, is unknown as those mental health professionals who saw him did not see anything that would have predicted his future behavior.”

The killings in Newtown, about 60 miles outside New York, happened less than five months after a similar bloodbath at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, outside Denver. Those mass slayings triggered a nationwide debate over gun violence, school safety and mental health — a debate that produced some new restrictions on firearms in several states. But it also yielded a backlash against those laws by gun-rights advocates and only limited action on a federal level after a Republican filibuster blocked expanded background checks for gun buyers.

Various witnesses described a fifth-grade Lanza as quiet but bright: “He wouldn’t necessarily engage in conversation, but wouldn’t ignore one,” the report states. He attended parties, enjoyed music and played the saxophone.

But the same year, according to investigators, Lanza produced something called the “Big Book of Granny” — in which a woman armed with a gun in her cane goes on killing sprees with her son, with children sometimes the targets. The story was related to a class project, but apparently never was handed in to the school, the report notes.

“It can’t be a red flag if nobody sees it,” Casey Jordan, a criminologist at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, told CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront.

By late middle school, Lanza “did not like noise and confusion and began to have issues when he had to walk to different classes,” the report states. He didn’t want to be in a crowd. He started receiving tutoring and home schooling. By ninth grade, he was “shutting himself in the bedroom and playing video games all day.”

“He was so enormously isolated,” Jordan said. “His mother was not allowed in his room. No one was. So this didn’t happen overnight. This was years of him slowly withdrawing, and we have that history going back to fifth grade, sixth grade.”

As a child, Lanza had seizures and washed his hands excessively. In 2005, he was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, with doctors noting he “lacked empathy” and showed “extreme anxiety and discomfort with changes, noise, and physical contact with others.” In high school, where he took part in a school tech club, Lanza never spoke of violence, but “was also remembered for pulling his sleeves over his hand to touch something,” the report states.

After the shooting, investigators found that Lanza had sorted out the details of school shootings and other mass murders in spreadsheets. Among the clippings he kept was a reprint of a story in The New York Times about a man who shot at schoolchildren in 1891, wounding several with a shotgun. His computer contained two videos depicting gunshot suicides, two pictures of Lanza pointing guns at his own head and movies depicting school shootings.

But while many of his video games were violent, others were not. For months before the killings at Sandy Hook, he would go to a movie theater on weekends to play the dance game “Dance Dance Revolution” for hours, the report recounts.

Lanza lived with his mother, 52-year-old Nancy Lanza, after his parents split up in 2001. Nancy Lanza “took care of all of the shooter’s needs” and “worried about what would happen to the shooter if anything happened to her,” according to the report.

It didn’t sound easy: The shooter was particular about the food that he ate and its arrangement on a plate in relation to other foods on the plate,” the report recounts. “Certain types of dishware could not be used for particular foods. The mother would shop for him and cook to the shooter’s specifications, though sometimes he would cook for himself.”

Nancy Lanza did her son’s laundry every day, but was not allowed into his room — “No one was allowed in his room,” where the windows were covered with black plastic trash bags, the report notes. Adam Lanza “disliked birthdays, Christmas and holidays,” forbidding his mother from putting up a Christmas tree: “The mother explained it by saying that shooter had no emotions or feelings.”

He was not medicated: Lanza “did not drink alcohol, take drugs, prescription or otherwise, and hated the thought of doing any of those things,” investigators found. An autopsy found no sign of drugs in his system at the time of the killings, the report states.

One person described Lanza’s relationship with his mother as “strained,” while another told investigators he didn’t appear to have “an emotional connection to his mother.” But others said Nancy Lanza “was the only person to whom the shooter would talk.”

Lanza’s mother “tried within her limits” to help her son live a normal life, Jordan said, but “we have a society that shames mental illness.”

“The mother was overwhelmed, did not know what to do with him and did allow him to isolate,” Jordan said. “She tried to bring him out with the one activity they had in common, which was going to the shooting range.”

Nancy Lanza grew up with firearms and “thought it was good to learn responsibility for guns,” the report states. Both she and Adam Lanza shot pistols at a local range, where Adam “was described as quiet and polite.” There was a large but undisclosed number of weapons in the home, all of which had been purchased by Nancy Lanza.

On December 14, 2012, the morning after Nancy Lanza had returned from a trip to New Hampshire, her son shot her four times in the head with a .22-caliber rifle. Then it was off to the school where he once had been a relatively happy child, packing four other guns and nearly 500 rounds of ammunition. He fired more than 150 shots from a .223-caliber Bushmaster rifle before turning a 10mm Glock pistol on himself once police arrived, according to the report.

Monday’s report is separate from a much longer evidence file that Connecticut State Police will release at an unspecified date. That cache will be “thousands of pages long,” according to Connecticut State Police spokesman Paul Vance.

The documents will include witness statements, a timeline of events and background on Lanza, and Vance said he believes they will offer a motive. The file is still being reviewed, with witness names and other identifying information being redacted, and there is no scheduled date for its release, Vance said.

But the family of Victoria Soto, a teacher who shielded her students before being shot to death, said Monday’s release is “yet another blow that our family has been dealt.”

A statement from the family said, “While others search for the answer as to why this happened, we search for the how. How can we live without Vicki? How do we celebrate Christmas without Vicki? How do we go on every day missing a piece of our family? Those are the questions we seek the answers for. There is nothing in the report that will answer those for us.”

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said the report’s release “will no doubt be difficult” for the relatives of those killed at Sandy Hook.

“But if there is one thing that I believe we must do, it’s that we must honor the lives that were lost by taking steps to protect ourselves from another horror like this,” Malloy said. “I hope that the information in this summary and in the supporting documents that will be released by the State Police takes us closer to that goal.”

Victims’ family members were informed of the report, said Mark Dupuis, a spokesman for Danbury State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky, whose office conducted the investigation.

“We are sensitive to the needs of the families, and those needs are being addressed,” Dupuis said.

CNN’s Susan Candiotti, Rande Iaboni, Rob Frehse, Chris Boyette and Ronni Berke contributed to this report.

Connecticut authorities closed the book on last December’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Monday without answering what drove the 20-year-old behind the rampage.

Sandy Hook impromptu memorial continues to grow

A memorial near the Newtown firehouse in memory of those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School is shown in December 2012. (Credit: Mike M. Ahlers/CNN)

A 44-page summary of the second-deadliest shooting in U.S. history outlines how gunman Adam Lanza killed his mother, then stormed the elementary school and killed himself as police arrived. But investigators haven’t determined a motive for the assault, which left 20 first-graders and six adults at the grade school dead in less than 11 minutes.

“The evidence clearly shows that the shooter planned his actions, including the taking of his own life, but there is no clear indication why he did so, or why he targeted Sandy Hook Elementary School,” Monday’s report states.

Lanza “had significant mental health issues that affected his ability to live a normal life and to interact with others,” the report states. But it adds, “What contribution this made to the shootings, if any, is unknown as those mental health professionals who saw him did not see anything that would have predicted his future behavior.”

There were no drugs in his system at the time of the killings, according to autopsy results included in the report. Lanza “did not drink alcohol, take drugs, prescription or otherwise, and hated the thought of doing any of those things,” investigators found.

“With the issuance of this report, the investigation is closed,” Monday’s report concludes.

The killings in Newtown, about 80 miles outside New York, happened less than five months after a similar bloodbath at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, outside Denver. The killings ignited a nationwide debate over gun violence, school safety and mental health.

Lanza had “an obsession” with mass murder and “a strong interest in firearms,” the report states. On his computer, investigators found a spreadsheet detailing mass murders over the years, two videos depicting gunshot suicides, two pictures of Lanza pointing guns at his own head, and movies and a video game depicting school shootings.

But violent video games weren’t his only pastime: He also was obsessed with the dancing game “Dance Dance Revolution.” He not only played it at home, he went to a local theater that had a version in its lobby nearly every weekend, playing it for as long as 10 hours at a time.

Another hard drive found in his home appeared to have been intentionally damaged, and investigators were unable to recover anything from the device.

And investigators found “a large number” of guns in the home. All of them had been bought by his mother, Nancy Lanza, who grew up with firearms and “thought it was good to learn responsibility for guns,” the report states. Both she and Adam Lanza shot pistols at a local range, where Adam “was described as quiet and polite.”

Nancy Lanza, 52, “took care of all of the shooter’s needs” and “worried about what would happen to the shooter if anything happened to her,” according to the report.

“The shooter was particular about the food that he ate and its arrangement on a plate in relation to other foods on the plate,” it recounts. “Certain types of dishware could not be used for particular foods. The mother would shop for him and cook to the shooter’s specifications, though sometimes he would cook for himself.”

Nancy Lanza did her son’s laundry every day, but was not allowed into his room — “No one was allowed in his room,” where the windows were covered with black plastic trash bags, the report notes. Adam Lanza “disliked birthdays, Christmas and holidays,” forbidding his mother from putting up a Christmas tree: “The mother explained it by saying that shooter had no emotions or feelings.”

One person described Lanza’s relationship with his mother as “strained,” while another told investigators he didn’t appear to have “an emotional connection to his mother.” But others said Nancy Lanza “was the only person to whom the shooter would talk.

The morning of the massacre, Lanza shot his mother several times in the dead with a .22-caliber rifle while she lay in bed, the report states. He then headed to Sandy Hook, where he had attended grade school — but “as best as can be determined, the shooter had no prior contact with anyone in the school that day.”

Four guns and more than 300 rounds of ammunition were found with Lanza, including the .223-caliber Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle used at the school and the 10mm Glock pistol he used to kill himself. Another pistol and a shotgun weren’t used, the report states.

Monday’s report is separate from a much longer evidence file that Connecticut State Police will release at an unspecified date. The family of Victoria Soto, a teacher who shielded her students before being shot to death, said the release is “yet another blow that our family has been dealt.”

A statement from the family said, “While others search for the answer as to why this happened, we search for the how. How can we live without Vicki? How do we celebrate Christmas without Vicki? How do we go on every day missing a piece of our family? Those are the questions we seek the answers for. There is nothing in the report that will answer those for us.”

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said the report’s release “will no doubt be difficult” for the relatives of those killed at Sandy Hook.

“But if there is one thing that I believe we must do, it’s that we must honor the lives that were lost by taking steps to protect ourselves from another horror like this,” Malloy said. “I hope that the information in this summary and in the supporting documents that will be released by the State Police takes us closer to that goal.”

Victims’ family members were informed of the report, said Mark Dupuis, a spokesman for Danbury State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky, whose office conducted the investigation.

Dupuis declined to provide details about when, where, and how the families were given the details of the report.

“We are sensitive to the needs of the families, and those needs are being addressed,” Dupuis said.

After the Newtown killings, a handful of states — Connecticut among them — passed new regulations on background check limits, magazine capacity and types of firearms legally available. But efforts to pass even limited legislation at the federal level were thwarted by a Republican filibuster in the Senate; the Obama administration then announced limited executive reforms in place of tougher laws.

NEWTOWN, Conn. (CNN) — Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has a “planned but not confirmed visit” to Newtown, Connecticut scheduled for Friday, Steve Jensen with Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman’s office told CNN.

Her visit comes after a gunman killed his own mother and 26 people–20 of them children–at a Newtown elementary school before turning the gun on himself last month.

If the visit happens, there will be no media access, Jensen added.

Shortly after the school shooting, Giffords’ husband, Mark Kelly, wrote in a Facebook post that lawmakers needed to take part in “meaningful discussion about our gun laws.”

“My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and the entire community of Newtown, CT. I just spoke to Gabby, and she sends her prayers from Tucson.

“As we mourn, we must sound a call for our leaders to stand up and do what is right. This time our response must consist of more than regret, sorrow, and condolence. The children of Sandy Hook Elementary School and all victims of gun violence deserve leaders who have the courage to participate in a meaningful discussion about our gun laws — and how they can be reformed and better enforced to prevent gun violence and death in America. This can no longer wait.”

Giffords was shot in the head in January 2011 during a Tucson mass shooting that killed six and wounded 13. She retired from Congress a year later.

NEWTOWN, Conn. — For the first time since themassacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Christine Wilford plans do something remarkable on Thursday that once was routine: drop her child off at school.

The last time her 7-year-old son, Richie, was in class was on December 14, when a gunman smashed his way into his school in Newtown, Connecticut, and killed 26 children and adults.

As shots rang out, Richie’s teacher locked the door and huddled her students into the corner as the shooter roamed the hallways, wielding an AR-15 assault rifle and firing.

When it appeared safe, the children were then hurried away to a nearby fire station, where teary parents either reunited with their sons and daughters or learned that they had been killed.

Nearly a month later, Wilford said her son still has trouble sleeping and is often scared by loud noises.

But on Thursday, he will join hundreds of other Newtown students returning to class for the first time since the tragedy.

“We think it’s good he’s going back,” Wilford said. “If I leave my child anywhere, I’m leaving a piece of my heart, so it’s difficult to leave him.”

But Richie apparently isn’t afraid and says he’s looking forward to seeing his friends, she said.

They won’t be attending Sandy Hook Elementary, which police say remains part of an ongoing investigation into Adam Lanza, the gunman who also killed his mother before opening fire at the school.

Instead, Richie and his classmates are expected to travel to Chalk Hill Middle School in the nearby town of Monroe, where a green-and-white banner greeting the children hangs on a fence.

Newtown Public Schools Superintendent Janet Robinson said that part of the building had been transformed to resemble an elementary school.

“(We want) to have as much (of) a normal routine as possible,” she said. “(Thursday) is a regular schedule, and we will do the kinds of things that we know are good for kids.”

The school has also been outfitted with rugs and furniture similar to those at Sandy Hook to help ease the transition for students. Even the school’s pet turtle was relocated, Robinson said.

Security measures have also been increased, with a new system incorporating more cameras and locks, according to Jim Agostine, superintendent of Monroe Public Schools.

“I think right now it has to be the safest school in America,” Monroe Police Lt. Keith White said.

-CNN Wire

NEWTOWN, Conn. — The last of the victims in the Connecticut mass shooting were to be laid to rest Saturday, as the grieving begins to be overtaken by a loud debate on gun control.

Josephine Gay turned 7 just days before Adam Lanza forced himself into Sandy Hook Elementary School, shooting her and 19 other students, along with six adults.

A photo of the happy child, wearing a green hat and with glasses on the end of her nose, has been republished widely.

Services also will held for 6-year-old Ana Marquez-Greene, who is remembered for a singing voice bigger than her size. A representative for her father, the jazz musician Jimmy Greene, described the girl as “beautiful and vibrant.”

In Utah, a funeral was held for Emilie Parker, 6. She “was the type of person who could light up a room,” her father previously told reporters. She is remembered as a mentor to her two younger sisters, ages 3 and 4.

The horrendous nature of the December 14 shooting — defenseless children and teachers being gunned down — has led most Americans to conclude that something must be done.

But how? That debate about the steps needed to protect America’s children is setting up to be an intense fight between those calling for more restrictive gun laws and those who want guns for protection.

Most of the voices in the immediate aftermath of the shooting favored more stringent gun control measures.

A CNN/ORC poll taken after the shooting shows that a slight majority of Americans favor restrictions on guns. Conservative Democrats and even some Republicans who have supported gun rights have said they are open to discussing gun control.

On Friday, the National Rifle Association weighed in, making it clear the organization would not budge an inch.

Instead, Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre blamed video games and the media, and said the gun rights group will fund a team to devise a program that would put armed guards at all schools. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” he said.

The NRA’s position sets the stage for a contentious battle between one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington and the Obama administration, which has promised quick action on “real reforms” to gun laws.

CNN iReporter Jason Asselin applauded the NRA’s stance, even proposing that U.S. troops returning from war zones serve as armed guards. “Right now, our schools remain unprotected,” he said. “Action is needed. Our children deserve to be protected.”

But others panned the NRA’s position.

Democratic Senator-elect Chris Murphy, whose district includes Newtown, called LaPierre’s words “the most revolting, tone deaf statement I’ve ever seen.” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent, blasted them as “a shameful evasion of the crisis facing the country.” And former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said he found the remarks “very haunting and very disturbing.”

Rick Huffman, another CNN iReporter and a retired police officer, cut up his NRA membership card in the wake of the mass shooting, which he said changed his views on gun control. “There’s got to be a limit to what they let citizens have at their disposal,” the Michigan resident said.

Sunday will mark a new chapter in this horrific saga, as the first full day when U.S. and Connecticut flags will be at full-staff since the violence, as directed by Gov. Dannel Malloy.

After that, the quest to understand what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary, and why, as well as how to prevent more such carnage in the future, will continue.

CNN Wire report

NEWTOWN, Conn. (CNN) — For the people of Newtown and for people across the country, 9:30 a.m. was a time to stop, listen and remember.

Bells rang in the Connecticut town and in churches and government buildings in multiple states Friday morning to remember the 20 children and six women who were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School at that hour a week ago.

Standing in rain — some with umbrellas, and others who let the water wash over their bowed heads — people in Newtown gathered outside various locations and paused as multiple churches rang their bells at least 26 times, once for each victim.

Connecticut Gov. Dannell Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman stood with others under the awning of Newtown’s Edmond Town Hall. People also paused elsewhere in town — under a tent that covered the numerous flowers and stuffed animals left as a memorial — and outside various churches.

Some closed their eyes. Some put hands on their hearts. All stood nearly still as the bells rang.

At least one Newtown church rang its bells 28 times, also marking the death of the gunman, who killed himself after the shootings, and his mother, whom he killed before going to the school.

Three pastors at that church, Newtown United Methodist Church, took turns ringing the bell.

In the state Capitol building in Hartford, a bell was rung for each victim after their names were read. “Amazing Grace” was sung afterward.

Bells were rung at the National Cathedral in Washington and a church in Miami. Traders at the New York Stock Exchange paused silently for one minute before the opening bell.

Earlier, in a letter sent to other governors around the country, Malloy noted how the shooting in his state has resonated nationwide.

“Mourning this tragedy has extended beyond Newtown, beyond the borders of Connecticut, and has spread across the nation and the world,” he said. “On behalf of the State of Connecticut, we appreciate the letters and calls of support that have been delivered to our state and to the family members during their hour of need.”

At least 29 states have declared a moment of silence for Friday morning, with flags flying at half-staff. People mourned on the Internet, as well — some websites were to go dark at the urging of Silicon Valley venture capitalist Ron Conway, who came up with the idea at a Christmas party attended by Gabby Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman who was wounded in a 2011 shooting that killed six.

Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma suggested residents wear green, Sandy Hook’s school color. In Alaska, the Capitol’s bell will ring at 9:30 a.m. local time. The bell is a full-scale replica of the Liberty Bell.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Texas Gov. Rick Perry have called for residents of their states to pause to reflect one week after the shooting rampage. Perry also asked that churches ring their bells 26 times in honor of the victims at the school.

In an open letter to the people of Newtown in Friday’s The Hartford Courant, first lady Michelle Obama wrote that she and President Barack Obama are “holding you and your families in our hearts.”

“As a mother of two young daughters, my heart aches for you and your families. Like so many Americans, I wish there were something — anything — I could do or say to ease your anguish,” Michelle Obama wrote.

Although she “cannot begin to imagine the depths of your grief,” she paid tribute to “the countless acts of courage, kindness and love here in Newtown and across America.”

The states honoring a moment of silence are Alaska, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

President Obama ordered flags to half-staff last Friday after the shooting. Flags will also fly at half-staff this Friday.

Carloads of teenagers from a Minnesota school that suffered a mass shooting in 2005 headed toward Newtown on Thursday to offer their support.

Also Thursday, burials were held for three children and two teachers.

More than 2,200 miles west of Newtown, in Ogden, Utah, the hometown of shooting victim Emilie Parker was festooned with pink ribbons as her parents brought her body back for burial.

“This sucks. There’s no reason for us to be here tonight,” her father, Robbie Parker, told friends and well-wishers at a memorial service Thursday night. “And I’m so thankful for everybody that’s here.”

His voice trailed off as he struggled for composure. Seeing the pink — his daughter’s favorite color — made him and his wife, Alissa, “feel like we were getting a big hug from everybody.”

Also buried Thursday, at an undisclosed location, was Nancy Lanza, the shooter’s mother, said Donald Briggs, a friend of the family who grew up with her in Kingston, New Hampshire.

Plans had not been finalized for the burial of the gunman, her son, Adam.

Three 6-year-olds were among those buried Thursday: Allison Wyatt, who loved to draw and wanted to be an artist; Benjamin Wheeler, who loved the Beatles; and red-haired Catherine Hubbard, who loved animals.

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