US town reels from deadly school shooting
15 December 2012, 09:02
Newtown - Hundreds of people attended a mass on Friday night
at a church in Newtown, Connecticut, paying tribute to the victims of the
elementary school massacre that left at least 27 dead.
The church was so packed that dozens of people crowded
outside the St Rose of Lima Catholic church - just a mile from the Sandy Hook
elementary school where the tragedy took place.
"This is a kind of community, when things like that
happen, they really pull together," Monsignor Robert Weiss said as he
closed the special service he convened after hearing news of the slaughter.
"As so many people don't have extended family, friends
become very important. And you see evidence of that tonight," he added.
As Weiss spoke, many outside the church stood in silence,
still in shock over the attack by the heavily armed young gunman who killed 26
people, including 20 small children, before dying.
Some lit candles and others joined hands in a large circle
and sang Christmas songs.
David Connors, father of triplets, all of whom were at the
school during the shooting, brought his children to the Mass.
"It's hard. I've never imagined a thing like that could
happen here," he told AFP, though he said the children, two boys and a
girl, were doing well.
When the gunshots began, they "heard noises. But they
were in a separate part of the building" and were evacuated to a fire
station near the school, he explained.
For Ray Horvath, a retiree who volunteers at the Connecticut
Department of Education in Newtown, the mass was comforting, even though he is
"It's nice to see the concern of all these
people," he said, fighting tears.
"I wish I was a person of faith because it would
sustain me, but I don't have it."