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First two funerals held after US school shooting

Two six-year-old boys are being laid to rest. The first of the girls, also aged six, are due to be laid to rest tomorrow.

Mourners arrive for the funeral of school shooting victim, Jack Pinto aged 6.
Mourners arrive for the funeral of school shooting victim, Jack Pinto aged 6.
Image: (AP Photo/David Goldman)

FUNERALS ARE TAKING place in the small Connecticut town of Newtown after the school massacre that took the lives of 20 small children and six staff.

The first burials were of two six-year-old boys among those shot in Sandy Hook Elementary School. Tomorrow, the first of the girls, also aged six, are due to be laid to rest tomorrow.

The family of one boy, Jack Pinto, said their goodbyes at a century-old building in the centre of the town, the men wearing dark suits and ties. Some 20 children of different ages came to the funeral home, along with about two dozen adults.

All schools in Newtown are shut until tomorrow and the blood-soaked elementary school itself was to remain a closed crime scene indefinitely, authorities said.

A police officer carries flowers into a funeral service for 6-year-old Noah Pozner. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

“Healing is still going on,” town police Lieutenant George Sinko said. “The plan is to try to resume normalcy for school classes tomorrow, except for those members of the Sandy Hook school.”

Newtown is a picturesque and quiet suburban community where the 20-year-old killer lived with his well-off mother.

Late yesterday, President Barack Obama joined a prayer vigil in Newtown and pledged to work for an end to mass shootings, which have now become an almost regular event in the United States with four massacres since Obama took office alone.

Mourners grieve at one of the makeshift memorials for victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

“These tragedies must end,” Obama said, not giving specifics, but appearing to commit himself to a push for reform in his second White House term, possibly by urging restoration of a federal ban on assault weapons like the one used in Newtown.

Each year, more than 31,000 Americans die from gunshots, most of them self-inflicted, but more than 11,000 in homicides,  five times as many as the death toll for US troops during an entire decade of conflict in Afghanistan.


Bit by bit, the full picture of the horror and heroism in the school, where the deranged shooter, Adam Lanza, sprayed bullets into two rooms, was starting to emerge.

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A mourner walks into a funeral service for 6-year-old Noah Pozner. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

The husband of Dawn Hochsprung, the school principal killed as she tried to stop the killer, said she told others around her to hide. Then she “and at least one other teacher went out and actually tried to subdue the killer,” her husband George said.

“I don’t know where that comes from. Dawn was 5’2,” he said. “Dawn put herself in jeopardy and I have been angry about that, angry until just now, when I met two women that she told to go under shelter while she actually confronted the gunman.”

No information about a possible motive, or whether Lanza had any diagnosed mental condition, has emerged. He is believed to have first shot his mother in their house before going to the school.

- © AFP, 2012

Read: Dogs sent to Newtown to comfort school shooting survivors >

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