NEWTOWN, Conn. (CBSMiami/AP) – President Barack Obama visited Newtown, Connecticut.
It’s the the fourth time he will have traveled to a city after a mass shooting.
The president met privately Sunday afternoon at Newtown High School, about a mile and a half from Sandy Hook Elementary, with families of the victims and with emergency personnel who responded to the shootings. In the evening, he was to speak at an interfaith vigil.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Mally said Sunday that Adam Lanza suicide as first responders closed in and raising the specter that Lanza had planned an even more gruesome massacre and was stopped short.
Lanza blasted his way into the building and used a high-power rifle to kill 20 children and six adults, including the principal who tried to stop him, authorities said. His first victim was his mother who police found in the home they shared.
On Saturday, overflow crowds packed St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church. The Rev. Richard Scinto, a deacon, gave a homily.
“In the past 48 hours I’ve said the phrase ‘I don’t know’ about 1,000 times,” he said. “That not knowing has got to be the worst part of this whole thing.”
At St. John’s Episcopal Church, 54-year-old Donna Denner, an art teacher at an elementary school in nearby Danbury whose classroom was locked down after the shooting, said she feels the same way she did after 9/11 but isn’t sure the rest of the country does.
“I don’t know if the rest of the country is struggling to understand it the same way we are here,” she said. “Life goes on, but you’re not the same. Is the rest of the country — are they going about their regular activities? Is it just another news story to them?”
In the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI told pilgrims and tourists Sunday that he is praying for the families of the victims.
“I assure the families of the victims, especially those who lost a child, of my closeness in prayer,” the pope said. “May the God of consolation touch their hearts and ease their pain.”
The gunman’s father, Peter Lanza, issued a statement Saturday relating his own family’s anguish in the aftermath.
“Our family is grieving along with all those who have been affected by this enormous tragedy. No words can truly express how heartbroken we are,” he said. “We are in a state of disbelief and trying to find whatever answers we can. We too are asking why. … Like so many of you, we are saddened, but struggling to make sense of what has transpired.”
On Saturday, the authorities released the list of the 12 girls, eight boys and eight adults who died.
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