Last night, residents of Newtown, Connecticut gathered to remember the lives lost in the devastating mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Monsignor Robert Weiss, of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, told the Today Show: "The emotions of yesterday were just absolutely overwhelming, and I don’t know if the reality has really settled in yet."
Twenty children, ages five to 10, and six adults, including the principal, a kindergarten teacher, and a school psychologist, at the school died from gunshot wounds; the suspected shooter, Adam Lanza, 20, killed himself there. Lanza's mother, who apparently had an association with the school, was found dead at her home in the suburban town.
Many heads of local houses of worship were at the local firehouse to comfort students, staff and their families. Weiss was present when many people learned the terrible news, "I think many of them in their hearts knew their child or their spouse was gone but going with the police last night to confirm that was overwhelming. Many of the questions are just wondering what were the last moments of these people’s lives like. They were wondering did the child even know what was happening, were they afraid, did they see something coming? And of course no one can answer that question because there were no survivors, so these parents are left with those unanswered questions in addition to just why this had to happen, why to their child?’"
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He added, "A number of the children ran over to me, and they were crying and they were hugging me and waiting for their parents to get there. I felt as if they wanted to go home, but I didn’t think they wanted to leave their friends either. They weren’t sure what was happening... When they were taking the attendance and certain names were not called, most people were asked to go into a separate room. Everyone’s heart just dropped. They knew something horrible had happened to their child and to their family member."
A trauma psychiatrist who was also at the firehouse describe the tragic scene to the AP:
There are numerous vigils in Newtown today. Police have not disclosed Lanza's motive yet, but believe they are beginning to understand what may have prompted this horror.