Newtown Gets 26 Christmas Trees to Honor Shooting Victims
Newtown has received 26 Christmas trees to honor each of the victims – 12 girls, eight boys and six adults – of Friday's mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The donor from North Carolina wants to remain anonymous.
The 5-ft. trees, lined up in the direction of the school, were decorated by volunteers at the town's fire station during the weekend, people.com reported.
"We felt the need to come here with our children, and this is a wonderful way to honor the young children who died," a Newtown, Conn., resident was quoted as saying.
The 20-year-old suspect, Adam Lanza, who supposedly suffered from a mental disorder called Asperger's Syndrome, first killed his mother at their home in Newtown, and then stormed Sandy Hook school, spraying bullets at children and a few adults, before shooting himself Friday morning.
Sixteen of the child victims were 6-year-olds, and the remaining four were just a year older. The six adults killed were all women, including 47-year-old school principal Dawn Hochsprung and psychologist Mary Scherlach, 56 – both had been shot as they tried to protect their students.
A 6-year-old victim, Charlotte Bacon, was in her pink dress and boots she bought for Christmas that day, according to people.com. After plenty of pleas, her mother finally let her daughter wear the ensemble to class. She even styled Charlotte's red curly hair specially to celebrate the end of the week.
Noah Pozner, another 6-year-old victim, told his mother he loved her more than she did, his uncle recalled while speaking to The Associated Press. His twin sister, whom he called his best friend, survived the shooting as she was in another classroom. "He was just a really lively, smart kid," his uncle said. "He would have become a great man, I think. He would have grown up to be a great dad."
President Barack Obama traveled to Newtown Sunday to speak at an interfaith vigil and also meet the families of victims. "I can only hope it helps for you to know that you're not alone. … Across this land of ours, we have wept with you," he told the crowd, including the surviving families. "These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change."
Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner H. Wayne Carver II said Saturday that all the victims had been struck more than once – some even six times. Bodies had wounds "all over, all over."
This week, eight funeral services are being planned at Newtown's St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, where the shooter and eight of the young victims were parishioners.