Quantcast
Latest Stories

Obama to join vigils for Connecticut school massacre

By ,

Mourners gather for a candlelight vigil at Ram’s Pasture to remember shooting victims, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. President Barack Obama was due in Newtown on Sunday to join in an interfaith vigil for the 20 small children and seven adults slaughtered by a young gunman. AP PHOTO/JASON DECROW

NEWTOWN, Connecticut—President Barack Obama was due in the small Connecticut community of Newtown on Sunday to join in an interfaith vigil for the 20 small children and seven adults slaughtered by a young gunman.

The president’s visit comes two days after the heavily armed 20-year-old, Adam Lanza, stalked into the Sandy Hook elementary school and raked students, teachers and administrators with gunfire, after first killing his mother in their home – in one of the worst mass shootings in US history.

The tragedy has revived calls for a debate on gun control, though the White House has scotched any suggestion that the politically explosive subject would be quickly reopened.

And the political ramifications were far from the minds of most in this picturesque dormitory town, where parents of both the survivors and the dead were struggling to come to terms with the horror.

The White House said the president will meet with families of the victims and thank first responders. He is also scheduled to speak at the vigil Sunday evening for the families of victims and others from the elementary school.

A memorial was held Saturday evening for one of the victims, 27-year-old teacher Victoria Soto, who died trying to protect her students, according to media reports.

Robbie Parker, a 30-year-old hospital physician’s assistant who cares for sick newborns, said the death of his loving six-year-old Emilie should “inspire us to be better, more compassionate and caring toward other people.”

And he included the family of the apparent shooter, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, in his condolences, addressing them through the news media to say: “I can’t imagine how hard this experience must be for you.”

Robert and Diane Licata described how their six-year-old son Aiden ran past the shooter in his classroom doorway to escape after seeing his teacher gunned down – and recounted their desperate search for him.

“When you’re standing there waiting, and no one will tell you anything—it’s an indescribable feeling of helplessness.”

Licata eventually received a text that her son was safe at a nearby police station, and he was later able to explain his escape.

She said his class heard noises that initially “they thought were hammers falling. Then they realized that it was gunshots,” she said.

“Aiden’s teacher had the presence of mind to move all of the children to a distance away from the door… and that’s when the gunman burst in,” Licata said.

The gunman had “no facial expressions” she said, adding that he “proceeded to shoot their teacher.”

Following drills that many US children are taught as to how to react during an emergency, Aiden and his classmates quickly made their way to the door where the gunman was standing and ran past him. Some of them survived.

“He really, really, really cared about his teacher. He was very close with her, and she really loved that class. He keeps saying, ‘I really hope she’s okay, I hope it’s not her,’” the boy’s mother said.

“He knows that she’s been hurt but he doesn’t know the end result. He knows the kids that he saw getting shot.”

A police spokesman said Lanza is believed to have shot his mother at the home they shared before heading to the nearby school and launching his attack.

He had two handguns, but the coroner told reporters that most of the children and staff were killed by multiple gunshots from his assault rifle, a .223-cal. Bushmaster, a civilian version of the US military’s M4.

Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner H. Wayne Carver said the rifle fires rounds “in such a fashion that the energy is deposited in the tissue, so the bullet stays in.”

Lanza’s father, Peter, expressed shock and grief at the horror caused by his son.

“No words can truly express how heartbroken we are,” he said in a statement vowing to continue cooperating with law enforcement.

“We, too, are asking why,” he said. “Like so many of you, we are saddened and struggling to make sense of what has transpired.”

Connecticut State Police released the identity of the victims, aged six to 56. They included 16 six-year-olds and four seven-year-olds.

Twelve of the 20 slain children were girls and eight were boys.

The six adults killed at the school were all women, including the school’s principal and its psychologist.

The motives of the shooter were the biggest mystery. Carver was to have conducted a post-mortem on Lanza and on his mother late Saturday.

Asked whether any suicide note, e-mails or other clues into the killer’s mind had been found, Connecticut State Police spokesman Lieutenant J. Paul Vance said investigators have gathered “some very good evidence.”

Vance said the crime scene investigation could go through the weekend.

Shy, awkward and nerdy

Although he was remembered as a shy, awkward and nerdy boy, Lanza had not apparently given any warning sign that he was a mass murderer.

The weapons, news reports said, were registered in his mother’s name, but she was widely seen as an unremarkable and upstanding resident in the town.

The tragedy drew messages of support from around the world, and candlelight vigils have sprung up in the area.

The National Football League announced its games will hold a moment of silence Sunday to remember the victims, with the New York Giants and New York Jets planning to wear an adhesive strip on their helmets marked “SHES,” the acronym of the elementary school.

Of all US campus shootings, the toll was second only to the 32 murders in the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech University.

The latest number far exceeded the 15 killed in the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, which triggered a fierce but inconclusive debate about relaxed gun control laws in the United States.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Adam Lanza , Barack Obama , Crime , Massacre , Sandy Hook Elementary School , School , shooting incident , US




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Opinions split on Napoles turning state witness
  3. Delfin Lee: Blame Pag-Ibig, not me
  4. Plunder complaint filed vs PNP chief, firearms office head over license delivery deal
  5. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  6. San Juan cops fail to arrest Cedric Lee
  7. More ‘Yolanda’ bodies found
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  10. Boy ‘sexually assaulted’ at Indonesia international school
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  3. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  4. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  8. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  9. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
Advertisement

News

  • What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  • Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  • 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  • Napoles surgery in Makati hospital successful
  • Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  • Sports

  • Mixers trim Aces; Painters repulse Bolts
  • Donaire junks Garcia as coach, taps father
  • ’Bye Ginebra: No heavy heart this time
  • UAAP board tackles new rules
  • Baguio climb to decide Le Tour de Filipinas
  • Lifestyle

  • The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  • Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  • Visiting chefs from Denmark get creative with ‘ube,’ ‘ buko,’ ‘calamansi,’ mangoes
  • Salted baked potatoes
  • A first in a mall: Authentic Greek yogurt–made fresh in front of diners
  • Entertainment

  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • In love … with acting
  • From prison to the peak of success
  • ‘Asedillo’ location thrives
  • Business

  • This time, BIR goes after florists
  • Philippine Airlines to stop shipment of shark fins
  • PH banks not ready for Asean integration
  • Stocks down on profit-taking
  • Banks allowed to use ‘cloud’
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • PH seeks ‘clearer assurance’ from US
  • China and rivals sign naval pact to ease maritime tensions
  • What Went Before: Manila bus hostage crisis
  • Obama arrives in Tokyo, first stop of 4-nation tour
  • Believe it or not: Filipinos love US more than Yanks
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement