Parishioners at a Catholic church in Sandy Hook filtered in and out of the building on Saturday to offer prayers for the family and victims of Friday’s massacre that claimed 26 lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
A man knelt down, sobbing in prayer at a memorial with candles, while Pam Sherman and her daughter brought purple balloons.
“They’re for one of the families in town,” said Sherman, not identifying one of the female student victims she knew. “It’s her favorite color. The little girl.”
The Cascone family who lives in Newtown said the tragedy calls for prayer.
“I don’t see why they want to do something to innocent people,” said Kyle Cascone, a student at a school nearby.
His mother echoed her son’s words. “It’s hard to understand it all,” Lisa Cascone said.
A few blocks down the street from Sandy Hook Elementary School residents and outsiders gathered at a makeshift memorial to place flowers in memory of the dead.
Many said they struggled to come to terms with the heinous act of violence – Of the 26 school victims, 20 were children, all between the ages of six and seven.
“It’s unfathomable. I can’t believe the whole world is watching us. It’s a a big thing, it really is and I still don’t fully understand the situation. It’s devastating,” said Nicholas Clark, a senior at Newton High School.
“There’s no words. It’s brutal, brutal for the entire town. Brutal,” an unidentified mourner said.
Hartford resident Henrietta Beckman said she grieved for the parents of the victims, having lost her own son to gun violence in 2002.
“I can imagine what these families are going through and for there to be such a massive loss of life. Especially young children, you know. I don’t know what our world is coming through but I just want to come down to show our support,” Beckman said.
Mourner Andrea Yeager came from New York to pay her respects to the victims.
“I was hoping to light a candle and lay some white roses and say prayers and hopefully help with the healing of what this community and those families are going through,” Yeager said.
The attack, which ended when the gunman turned his weapon on himself, stunned members of the tight-knit suburban community, once listed as the fifth-safest town in the America but now in crisis.
A total of 28 people died in the rampage, including the gunman, Adam Lanza, and his mother, Nancy Lanza, who was her son’s first victim.
On Saturday, authorities released the identities of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting:
- Charlotte Bacon, 6
- Daniel Barden, 7
- Rachel Davino, 29
- Olivia Engel, 6
- Josephine Gay, 7
- Ana M Marquez-Greene, 6
- Dylan Hockley, 6
- Dawn Hocksprung, 47
- Madeline Hsu, 6
- Catherine Hubbard, 6,
- Chase Kowalski, 7
- Jesse Lewis, 6
- James Mattioli, 6
- Grace McDonnell, 7
- Ann Marie Murphy, 52
- Emilie Parker, 6
- Jack Pinto, 6
- Noah Pozner, 6
- Caroline Previdi, 6
- Jessica Rekos, 6
- Avielle Richman, 6
- Lauren Russeau, 30
- Mary Sherlach, 56
- Victoria Soto, 27
- Benjamin Wheeler, 6
- Allison Wyatt, 6
According to the Chief Medical Examiner, all of the young victims were in first grad.
A fund has been set up to gather support for the victims, families, and all others affected by the shooting. Click here for more information on the fund and information on how to donate.