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Thursday 21 August 2014

Funerals of school shooting victims

Published 16/12/2012 | 23:39

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Veronika Pozner, right, arrives at a funeral service for her son Noah in Newtown, Connecticut (AP)
Noah Pozner celebrated his sixth birthday just two weeks ago (AP)
A hearse and family limousines pass a flag at half-mast as the funeral procession for shooting victim Jack Pinto heads through Newtown (AP)

The Connecticut town shattered by last week's school massacre has held its first two funerals.

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Family, friends and townspeople streamed to two funeral homes to say goodbye to Jack Pinto, who loved the New York Giants football team, and Noah Pozner, who liked to figure out how things worked mechanically.

A rabbi presided at Noah's service, and in keeping with Jewish tradition, the boy was laid to rest in a simple brown wooden casket adorned with a Star of David. Outside the funeral home, well-wishers placed two teddy bears, a bouquet of white flowers and a red rose at the base of an old maple tree.

Noah's twin sister, Arielle, who was assigned to a different classroom, survived. In front of the funeral home where relatives were mourning Noah, well-wishers placed two teddy bears, a bouquet of white flowers and a single red rose at the base of a maple tree. Hymns rang out from inside the funeral home where Jack's service was being held.

"The message was: You're secure now. The worst is over," one mourner, Gwendolyn Glover, said.

The boys were being buried a day after the small community of Newtown, already stripping itself of Christmas decorations, came together for a vigil where President Barack Obama said he will use "whatever power" he has to prevent similar massacres.

"What choice do we have?" he said. "Are we really prepared to say that we're powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard?"

President Obama has given no specifics on what he might do, and White House spokesman Jay Carney warned that "no single piece of legislation or action will fully address the problem."

Investigators have offered no motive for the shooting, and the Connecticut community struggled to comprehend what drove 20-year-old Adam Lanza to shoot to death his mother at home in bed Friday morning, drive her car to the school and unleash gunfire on six adults and 20 children who were 6 and 7 years old.

All the victims at the school apparently were shot more than once, and some of them were shot at close range, Chief Medical Examiner Dr H Wayne Carver has said. He said the ammunition was the type designed to break up inside a victim's body and inflict the maximum amount of damage.

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