'Day of Mourning' in Conn. for Newtown victims
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) -- Places of worship and buildings with bells across the state rang them 26 times at 9:30 a.m. today for the victims of the Newtown school shooting.
Gov. Dannel Malloy has asked residents to observe Day of Mourning on Friday for the 20 children and six adults who were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School one week ago. The White House has said President Barack Obama will privately observe the moment of silence.
Officials and clergy in many other states around the nation will also hold observances.
No formal speeches are scheduled.
When people here speak of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, they use the number 26: the ones killed after Adam Lanza stormed his way into the school.
When the bells of Newtown toll mournfully Friday morning to honor the victims of last week's shooting rampage, they'll do so 26 times, for each child and staff member killed.
Rarely do residents mention the first person police said Lanza killed that morning: his mother, Nancy, who was shot in the head four times while she lay in bed.
That makes 27.
A private funeral was held Thursday in New Hampshire for Nancy Lanza, according to Donald Briggs, the police chief in Kinston, N.H., where her funeral was held. About 25 family members attended the ceremony.
In Newtown, where makeshift memorials of stuffed animals, angels, candles, flowers and balloons have blossomed on patches of grass throughout town, there is only one noticeable tribute to Nancy Lanza. It's a letter written by a friend on yellow paper affixed, screwed and shellacked onto a red piece of wood.
"Others now share pain for choices you faced alone; May the blameless among us throw the first stone," it reads in part.
No one outwardly blames Nancy Lanza for the rampage. But authorities have said the gunman, her 20-year-old son Adam, used the guns she kept at their home to carry out a massacre that became the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history and has stirred lawmakers to call for gun control laws.
Nationwide, churches will ring their bells 26 times at 9:30 Friday morning -- exactly a week after the shooting occurred -- in memory of the victims. Two gold balloons, one a 2, the other a 6, are tied to a bridge. Handwritten tributes mention 26 snowflakes. "26 angels will guide us," reads one.
The dearth of tributes to Nancy Lanza underscores the complicated mix of emotions surrounding her after the shooting.
In a small town where multiple funerals are taking place each day, where black-clad mourners stand in lines waiting to say goodbye to another child, many are incredibly angry at Nancy Lanza for not keeping her guns away from her son.
Some view her as a victim, but one whose guns were used to kill first-graders. And others think Nancy Lanza was an innocent victim, one who should be counted and included at memorials.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was one of the people to visit Newtown on Thursday, stopping by a firehouse.
The Obama administration will push to tighten gun laws in response to the shooting, Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday, and Speaker John Boehner said the GOP-controlled House would consider the proposals.
Biden, who is overseeing the administration's response to Friday's shooting, said he and Obama are "absolutely committed" to curbing gun violence in the United States.
"Even if we can only save one life, we have to take action," he said.
Gun-control measures have faced fierce resistance in Congress for years, but that may be changing because of the events in Connecticut, which shocked the nation.
After the shooting, Obama signaled for the first time that he's willing to spend significant political capital on the issue. Some prominent gun-rights advocates on Capitol Hill -- Democrats and Republicans alike -- have expressed willingness to consider new measures.
Investigators have said that Nancy Lanza, a gun enthusiast, visited shooting ranges several times and that her son also visited an area range.
Authorities say Adam Lanza shot his mother at their home and then took her car and some of her guns to the school, where he broke in and opened fire. A Connecticut official said Nancy Lanza was shot four times in the head with a .22-caliber rifle.
Adam Lanza was wearing all black, with an olive-drab utility vest, during the school attack. Investigators have found no letters or diaries that could explain the rampage.
Friends and acquaintances have described him as intelligent, but odd and quiet.
Friends said he would stare down at the floor and not speak when she brought him into a local pizzeria. They knew that he'd switched schools more than once and that she'd tried home schooling him. But while she occasionally expressed concern about his future during evenings at the bar, she never complained.
"I heard her as a parent. I always said that I wouldn't want to be in her shoes. But I thought, ‘Wow. She holds it well,"' said Jon Tambascio, son of the pizzeria operator.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.