Saturday 29 November 2014

Massacre town begins burying dead

Published 18/12/2012 | 03:44

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)

A town has begun burying its dead, laying to rest the first of the 20 children killed in the Connecticut school massacre.

Two funeral homes in Newtown filled with mourners for six-year-olds Noah Pozner, whose twin sister survived the rampage, and Jack Pinto, who loved the New York Giants football team.

The gunman also killed six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary, and his mother in her home, before committing suicide.

Noah's twin, Arielle, who was assigned to a different classroom, survived the killing frenzy by 20-year-old Adam Lanza, an attack so horrifying that authorities could not say three days later whether the school would ever reopen.

Familiar routines are expected to resume for some in Newton and with the exception of the school where the shooting took place, students in the district are returning to classes. The district is preparing a former middle school for pupils who attended Sandy Hook Elementary and survived the shooting there.

Meanwhile, around the US, education chiefs asked police to increase patrols and sent messages to parents outlining safety procedures as teachers steeled themselves for their pupils' questions and fears.

The outlines of a debate on gun control began to take shape on Monday. At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney said curbing gun violence was a complex problem that would require a "comprehensive solution". He did not offer specific proposals or a timeline but said President Barack Obama would meet law enforcement chiefs and mental health professionals in the coming weeks.

New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, flanked by shooting survivors and relatives of victims of gunfire around the US, pressed Mr Obama and Congress to toughen gun laws and tighten enforcement after the Newtown massacre. "If this doesn't do it," he asked, "what is going to?"

Lanza is believed to have used a Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle, a civilian version of the military's M-16. It is similar to the weapon used in a recent shopping mall shooting in Oregon and other deadly attacks around the US. Versions of the AR-15 were outlawed in America under the 1994 assault weapons ban, but the law expired in 2004.

Press Association

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