News / USA

First Funerals Held for US School Rampage Victims

Peter Fedynsky
Sadness enveloped the northeastern U.S. community of Newtown, Connecticut as the first two of 26 victims of Friday’s mass shooting were laid to rest. There was tight security at the funerals as a precaution against additional violence.
Mourners streamed into a funeral home in Fairfield, Connecticut where services were held for six-year-old Noah Pozner.  Local police lieutenant James Perez described the mood inside as beyond somber and beyond dread.  He said the boy’s casket was closed.
“Seeing that very tiny casket, it was even for someone like me who is used to seeing tragic events - it was indescribable.  I feel for the family and it really brings it home," he said.

Recent Mass Shootings in the United States

  • July 2012: A gunman kills 12 people during a showing of Batman  in Colorado.
  • January 2011: A gunman kills six people and wounds U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona.
  • November 2009: A U.S. Army psychiatrist kills 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas.
  • April 2007: A Virginia Tech student kills 32 people before committing suicide.
  • April 1999: Two Columbine High School students kill 12 students, one teacher and themselves in Colorado.
Noah’s uncle eulogized the boy as a kid who was excited about reading, animals and video games, and who would have become a great man and a loving father.  
Noah’s funeral was held within a police cordon, complete with bomb-sniffing dogs.  Lieutenant Perez said authorities picked up chatter on social media about violence, although none of the threats was deemed credible. 
Noah’s classmate Jack Pinto was laid to rest in Newtown, dressed in a jersey with the name and number of his favorite athlete, Victor Cruz of the New York Giants football team.  Jack was athletic and was to have been in a wrestling tournament this past week.  
Victor Cruz wrote Jack’s name on his shoes and gloves for Sunday’s game and also spoke with a member of the boy's family. 
“I spoke to the older brother, he was distraught as well. I told him to stay strong, and I would do anything I can to honor them," he said. 
Students who survived the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School will resume classes on Wednesday, but at a different location.  It is not clear if the school will ever reopen because of the horror that took place there. 
The horrific shootings have sparked yet another debate on gun control in the United States. Several Democratic Party lawmakers have called for a new push to restrict sales of guns and ban military-style assault weapons.
California Senator Dianne Feinstein, the author of an assault-weapons ban that lapsed in 2004, said she will introduce new legislation this week.
Friday's attack was the second worst school shooting in U.S. history.  The worst occurred in 2007, when a gunman killed 32 people at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia.  

Before that, the deadliest U.S. school shooting was the 1999 rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, where two teenagers killed 13 students and staff before killing themselves.

  • US President Barack Obama speaks at a memorial service for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 16, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut.
  • A pair of angel wings and balloons stand after being offered at a makeshift shrine to the victims of a elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, December 16, 2012.
  • Twenty-seven wooden angel figures are seen placed in a wooded area beside a road near the Sandy Hook Elementary School for the victims of a school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, December 16, 2012.
  • Ava Staiti, 7, of New Milford, Conn., looks up at her mother Emily Staiti, not pictured, while visiting a sidewalk memorial with 26 teddy bears, each representing a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, December 16, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut.
  • Mourners gather for a candlelight vigil at Ram's Pasture to remember shooting victims, December 15, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut.
  • A woman reacts while paying respects for shooting victims at a makeshift memorial at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, December 16, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut.
  • A young child points at candles as people pay their respects at a makeshift shrine to the victims of a elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, December 16, 2012.
  • People gather at a memorial for victims near the school on the first Sunday following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 16, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut.
  • Residents hold a candlelight vigil outside Newtown High School after President Barack Obama delivered remarks at an interfaith vigil for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, December 16, 2012.
  • Varinder Singh, of the Queens borough of New York, joins a group of Sikhs from around the Northeastern U.S., in a moment of prayer as a memorial service is broadcast over a loudspeaker outside Newtown High School, December 16, 2012.
  • A young child points at candles as people pay their respects at a makeshift shrine to the victims of a elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, December 16, 2012.
  • Kate Suba, left, Jaden Albrecht, center, and Simran Chand pay their respects at one of the makeshift memorials in honor of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Sunday, December 16, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut.

You May Like

Germany Celebrates 25 Years of Unity

October 3 is a public holiday, marking the day in 1990 when East Germany and West Germany reunited More

Analysts: Russia's Syria Strikes Shake Regional Powers

If Moscow bolsters Assad, Saudi Arabia, other Gulf countries may feel obliged to step in More

Video Innovative Nano-Tech Water Filter Prevents Disease

It can absorb contaminants like copper, bacteria, viruses and pesticides, says Askwar Hilonga, who has been successfully trying out his product in Arusha More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Observer from: Southeastasia
December 18, 2012 5:12 AM
Are US communities still so insecure after centuries of independence that residents should have guns of their own? If the US prides itself as a fist world country in civility, maturity, morality, science and technology, medicine, justice and legal systems, freedom, human psychology; rationality, commonsense, sensibility, and gentleness, freedom of non-violent expression should be the way of life of her communities. The US is known as a country that sends out the biggest number of Gospel missionaries and workers overseas to preach Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, and the love commandments to God and fellow humans, including enemies, but why are they killing one another, including the weak and innocent so brutally? Why are all these contradictions?

I am most convinced that if Americans care for one another or at least respect one another, or united as a country, common citizens and residents do not have to have guns at all for defensive and offensive purposes. Only those who are qualified and authorized for the work of order and peace in the community may have guns suitable to their tasks. The US will be become more attractive to investors and overseas students, and the people will enjoy better sense of security if possession of a rifle is banned from common people. Why must common Americans possess guns for killing humans, who they believe are created equal by God (in his image). Freedom of gun possession is not true freedom; it is a symptom of enslavement to violence, hatred, and evil. God is free, but the devil wants to be absolutely free. True freedom is freedom to the service of God and his will, and not to the service of the evil one and evils.

by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
December 18, 2012 12:57 AM
A terrible tragedy, that grives as all to the core; and a disaster for those that live with hope for a better world and a loving G_d.
Guns are tools; security forces need them, it saves their lives. As with any tools people need to be trained, maintain them, be insured... And with dangerous tools, have a secure place to store them, and the users must be absolutely fit to use/have them. You would certainly not allow people to have nuclear weapons at home, just because the constitution says "you can bear arms.." Nor should they bear arsenals/arms depots in their homes..

I can't see how one can justify having military, high rate of fire/high magazine capacity type of weapons, for private use? or multiple weapons; If you are that paranoid, you clearly may not be mentally fit to have weapons in any case. Children and weapons do not mix, other than tragically. Unfortunately, the misuse of weapons, no matter how regulated, occurs. Such incidents, like in Norway, a highly regulated weapon's country, failed to prevent the massacre. Regulation of dangerous tools is complex; probably best handled by State jurisdictions, through a referendum of the people as to what is permissible/etc...

by: Ronald from: Los Altos, CA
December 17, 2012 10:42 PM
Hello right-wing gun nuts, Adam and his mother were like YOU:
The mother of Sandy Hook gunman Adam Lanza who slaughtered 20 US schoolchildren and seven adults was a gun-hoarding survivalist who was stockpiling weapons in preparation for an economic collapse, it has emerged. Nancy Lanza was shot four times in the head before her son Adam gunned down young pupils and teachers at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Her sister-in-law Marsha Lanza told reporters at her Illinois home that her gun-obsessed relative was part of the ‘prepper’ movement that fears an economic collapse will lead to a breakdown in society.

“She prepared for the worst,” Ms Lanza said.
“Last time we visited her in person, we talked about prepping — are you ready for what could happen down the line, when the economy collapses?”

Nancy Lanza (52) had five registered firearms, had begun stockpiling food and taught Adam how to shoot. He is believed to have taken three of her guns — a Bushmaster .223-calibre, and two handguns, a Glock 10 mm and a Sig Sauer 9mm — in the school massacre after he shot her dead in bed.

Read more:

by: Jim Mooney from: Apache Junction, AZ
December 17, 2012 8:06 PM
All you need for a burglar coming in your house is an accurate revolver in a drawer. By the time you get to that assault rifle it's too late. Revolvers tamed the West. If they were good enough for Wyatt Earp they're good enough for me. What, you're too lazy to pull a trigger, you need a gas-assist?

And if you need a thirty round clip to down a deer, you need glasses more.

I'm just talking compromise and common sense, but all the gun-babies are going to cry "Wahhh, 'Bamy gonna come take my Rambo Rifle!"

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs