Grief mixes with impatience in shattered Newtown
Easton police officer J. Sollazzo greets a returning student as he is walked into Hawley School in Newtown, Conn., Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012. Classes resumed Tuesday for Newtown, schools except those at Sandy Hook, following Friday's mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Buses ferrying students to schools were festooned with large green and white ribbons on the front grills, the colors of Sandy Hook. At Newtown High School, students in sweatshirts and jackets, many wearing headphones, betrayed mixed emotions. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — Mourners overlapped at back-to-back services as funerals began in earnest in a Connecticut town that lost 20 of its children and seven adults to a gunman, with emotions and tempers in tatters amid a global crush of media attention to a community once known mostly for its bucolic atmosphere and sterling school system.
At St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Newtown, a service for first-grader James Mattioli had not concluded when mourners began arriving for the funeral of little Jessica Rekos, the first of eight to be held in the coming days at the church. Several more sets of funerals and visitation hours were set throughout town Wednesday.
Students went back to classes the day before, except for those at Sandy Hook Elementary, where a lone gunman armed with a military-style assault rifle slaughtered the children, six adults and himself by the time Friday's massacre ended. He also killed his mother at her home.
Pupils at Sandy Hook, which serves kindergarten through fourth grade, will resume classes in a formerly shuttered school in a neighboring community after the winter break, the Connecticut Post reported.
"It's definitely better than just sitting at home watching the news," sophomore Tate Schwab said outside Newtown High School. "It really hasn't sunk in yet. It feels to me like it hasn't happened."
The tragedy continued to reverberate around America as citizens and lawmakers debated whether Newtown might be a turning point in the often polarizing national discussion of gun-control.
Private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management announced Tuesday it plans to sell its stake in Freedom Group, maker of the Bushmaster rifle, following the school shootings. In Pittsburgh, Dick's Sporting Goods said it is suspending sales of modern rifles nationwide because of the shooting. The company also said it's removing all guns from display at its store closest to Newtown.
Friends and co-workers hold a sign as the hearse and funeral procession for James Mattioli, 6, who died in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, approaches the St. John's Cemetery Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012, in Darien, Conn. Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Dec. 14, and opened fire, killing 26 people, including 20 children. Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
A former co-chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., and 10-term House Republican Jack Kingston, a Georgia lawmaker elected with strong National Rifle Association backing, were the latest to join the call to consider gun control as part of a comprehensive, anti-violence effort next year.
"Put guns on the table. Also put video games on the table. Put mental health on the table," Kingston said.