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Conn. town mourns as police look for answers

  • This 2005 photo provided by neighbor Barbara Frey and verified by Richard Novia, shows Adam Lanza. Authorities have identified Lanza as the gunman who killed his mother at their home and then opened fire Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, inside an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., killing 26 people, including 20 children, before killing himself. Novia was the school district's former head of security and he advised the school technology club that Adam and his older brother belonged to. (AP Photo/Barbara Frey)

    This 2005 photo provided by neighbor Barbara Frey and verified by Richard Novia, shows Adam Lanza. Authorities have identified Lanza as the gunman who killed his mother at their home and then opened fire Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, inside an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., killing 26 people, including 20 children, before killing himself. Novia was the school district's former head of security and he advised the school technology club that Adam and his older brother belonged to. (AP Photo/Barbara Frey)

  • This 2012 photo provided by the family shows Lauren Rousseau. Rousseau was killed Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, when a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Conn., killing 26 children and adults at the school. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Rousseau Family)

    This 2012 photo provided by the family shows Lauren Rousseau. Rousseau was killed Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, when a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Conn., killing 26 children and adults at the school. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Rousseau Family)

  • Kathy Murdy, left, and her husband Rich Murdy react as they look at the list of victims of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 in Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn.  The victims of the shooting were shot multiple times by semiautomatic rifle, according to Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner  H. Wayne Carver II, M.D.  Carver called the injuries "devastating" and the worst he and colleagues had ever seen. Police began releasing the identities of the dead. All of the 20 children killed were 6 or 7 years old. Carver, said he examined seven of the children killed, and two had been shot at close range. When asked how many bullets were fired, he said, "I'm lucky if I can tell you how many I found." (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

    Kathy Murdy, left, and her husband Rich Murdy react as they look at the list of victims of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 in Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn. The victims of the shooting were shot multiple times by semiautomatic rifle, according to Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner H. Wayne Carver II, M.D. Carver called the injuries "devastating" and the worst he and colleagues had ever seen. Police began releasing the identities of the dead. All of the 20 children killed were 6 or 7 years old. Carver, said he examined seven of the children killed, and two had been shot at close range. When asked how many bullets were fired, he said, "I'm lucky if I can tell you how many I found." (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

  • A U.S. flag, second from left, flies at half-staff honoring the victims that died a day earlier when a gunman opened fire at an elementary school, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Newtown, Conn.  The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, would have been driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

    A U.S. flag, second from left, flies at half-staff honoring the victims that died a day earlier when a gunman opened fire at an elementary school, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, would have been driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

  • Lt. J. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police is surrounded by reporters as he hands out the list of victims of the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School,  Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 in Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn.  The victims of the shooting were shot multiple times by semiautomatic rifle, according to Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner  H. Wayne Carver II, M.D.  Carver called the injuries "devastating" and the worst he and colleagues had ever seen. Police began releasing the identities of the dead. All of the 20 children killed were 6 or 7 years old. Carver, said he examined seven of the children killed, and two had been shot at close range. When asked how many bullets were fired, he said, "I'm lucky if I can tell you how many I found." (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

    Lt. J. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police is surrounded by reporters as he hands out the list of victims of the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 in Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn. The victims of the shooting were shot multiple times by semiautomatic rifle, according to Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner H. Wayne Carver II, M.D. Carver called the injuries "devastating" and the worst he and colleagues had ever seen. Police began releasing the identities of the dead. All of the 20 children killed were 6 or 7 years old. Carver, said he examined seven of the children killed, and two had been shot at close range. When asked how many bullets were fired, he said, "I'm lucky if I can tell you how many I found." (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

  • Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner  H. Wayne Carver II, M.D. speaks to reporters during a news conference, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 in Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn. The victims of the shooting were shot multiple times by semiautomatic rifle, the medical examiner said Saturday, and he called the injuries "devastating" and the worst he and colleagues had ever seen. Police began releasing the identities of the dead. All of the 20 children killed were 6 or 7 years old. Carver, said he examined seven of the children killed, and two had been shot at close range. When asked how many bullets were fired, he said, "I'm lucky if I can tell you how many I found." (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

    Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner H. Wayne Carver II, M.D. speaks to reporters during a news conference, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 in Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn. The victims of the shooting were shot multiple times by semiautomatic rifle, the medical examiner said Saturday, and he called the injuries "devastating" and the worst he and colleagues had ever seen. Police began releasing the identities of the dead. All of the 20 children killed were 6 or 7 years old. Carver, said he examined seven of the children killed, and two had been shot at close range. When asked how many bullets were fired, he said, "I'm lucky if I can tell you how many I found." (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

  • Crayons sit on a table outside of a barbershop a day after a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn. The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, would have been driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims.  (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

    Crayons sit on a table outside of a barbershop a day after a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn. The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, would have been driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

  • People collect items used to hang a message written on fabric at a home a day after a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn.  The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, would have been driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims.  (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

    People collect items used to hang a message written on fabric at a home a day after a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn. The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, would have been driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

  • Elizabeth Bogdanoff, left, kisses her daughter Julia, 13, both of Newtown, Conn., during a prayer service at St John's Episcopal Church in Newtown, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, would have been driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

    Elizabeth Bogdanoff, left, kisses her daughter Julia, 13, both of Newtown, Conn., during a prayer service at St John's Episcopal Church in Newtown, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, would have been driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • Mary Fellows,of Newtown, Conn., weeps while waiting for a prayer service to begin at St John's Episcopal Church, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Newtown.  The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, would have been driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

    Mary Fellows,of Newtown, Conn., weeps while waiting for a prayer service to begin at St John's Episcopal Church, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Newtown. The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, would have been driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • This 2005 photo provided by neighbor Barbara Frey and verified by Richard Novia, shows Adam Lanza. Authorities have identified Lanza as the gunman who killed his mother at their home and then opened fire Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, inside an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., killing 26 people, including 20 children, before killing himself. Novia was the school district's former head of security and he advised the school technology club that Adam and his older brother belonged to. (AP Photo/Barbara Frey)
  • This 2012 photo provided by the family shows Lauren Rousseau. Rousseau was killed Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, when a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Conn., killing 26 children and adults at the school. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Rousseau Family)
  • Kathy Murdy, left, and her husband Rich Murdy react as they look at the list of victims of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 in Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn.  The victims of the shooting were shot multiple times by semiautomatic rifle, according to Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner  H. Wayne Carver II, M.D.  Carver called the injuries "devastating" and the worst he and colleagues had ever seen. Police began releasing the identities of the dead. All of the 20 children killed were 6 or 7 years old. Carver, said he examined seven of the children killed, and two had been shot at close range. When asked how many bullets were fired, he said, "I'm lucky if I can tell you how many I found." (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
  • A U.S. flag, second from left, flies at half-staff honoring the victims that died a day earlier when a gunman opened fire at an elementary school, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Newtown, Conn.  The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, would have been driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  • Lt. J. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police is surrounded by reporters as he hands out the list of victims of the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School,  Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 in Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn.  The victims of the shooting were shot multiple times by semiautomatic rifle, according to Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner  H. Wayne Carver II, M.D.  Carver called the injuries "devastating" and the worst he and colleagues had ever seen. Police began releasing the identities of the dead. All of the 20 children killed were 6 or 7 years old. Carver, said he examined seven of the children killed, and two had been shot at close range. When asked how many bullets were fired, he said, "I'm lucky if I can tell you how many I found." (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
  • Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner  H. Wayne Carver II, M.D. speaks to reporters during a news conference, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 in Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn. The victims of the shooting were shot multiple times by semiautomatic rifle, the medical examiner said Saturday, and he called the injuries "devastating" and the worst he and colleagues had ever seen. Police began releasing the identities of the dead. All of the 20 children killed were 6 or 7 years old. Carver, said he examined seven of the children killed, and two had been shot at close range. When asked how many bullets were fired, he said, "I'm lucky if I can tell you how many I found." (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
  • Crayons sit on a table outside of a barbershop a day after a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn. The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, would have been driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims.  (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  • People collect items used to hang a message written on fabric at a home a day after a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn.  The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, would have been driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims.  (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  • Elizabeth Bogdanoff, left, kisses her daughter Julia, 13, both of Newtown, Conn., during a prayer service at St John's Episcopal Church in Newtown, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, would have been driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  • Mary Fellows,of Newtown, Conn., weeps while waiting for a prayer service to begin at St John's Episcopal Church, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Newtown.  The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, would have been driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Investigators tried to figure out what led a bright but painfully awkward 20-year-old to slaughter 26 children and adults at a Connecticut elementary school, while townspeople sadly took down some of their Christmas decorations and struggled yesterday with how to go on.

The tragedy brought forth soul-searching and grief around the globe. Families as far away as Puerto Rico began to plan funerals for victims who still had their baby teeth, world leaders extended condolences, and vigils were held across the U.S.

Relatives of the shooter, whose victims included his mother, were at a loss for words.

“The whole family is traumatized by this event,” said a police official who knows the family. A family statement read: “We reach out to the community of Newtown and express our heartfelt sorrow for this incomprehensible and profound loss of innocence.”

James Champion, Nancy Lanza’s brother and a retired police captain in Kingston, N.H., said through the police chief that he had not seen his nephew in eight years. Champion, who still works as a part-time officer, said he would not discuss what might have triggered the rampage since the case is under investigation.

The tragedy plunged Newtown into mourning and added the picturesque New England community of handsome colonial homes, red-brick sidewalks and 27,000 people to the grim map of towns where mass shootings in recent years have periodically reignited the national debate over gun control but led to little change.

Signs around town read, “Hug a teacher today,” ‘‘Please pray for Newtown” and “Love will get us through.”

“People in my neighborhood are feeling guilty about it being Christmas. They are taking down decorations,” said Jeannie Pasacreta, a psychologist who was advising parents struggling with how to talk to their children.

The list of the dead was released yesterday, but in the tightly knit town, nearly everyone already seemed to know someone who died.

Among the dead: well-liked Principal Dawn Hochsprung, 47, who town officials say tried to stop the rampage and paid with her life; school psychologist Mary Sherlach, 56, who probably would have helped survivors grapple with the tragedy; a teacher thrilled to have been hired this year; and a 6-year-old girl who had just moved to Newtown from Canada.

“Next week is going to be horrible,” said the town’s legislative council chairman, Jeff Capeci, thinking about the string of funerals the town will face. “Horrible, and the week leading into Christmas.”

School board Chairwoman Debbie Leidlein spent Friday night meeting with parents who lost children and shivered as she recalled those conversations. “They were asking why. They can’t wrap their minds around it. Why? What’s going on?” she said. “And we just don’t have any answers for them.”

Nancy Lanza, who was once a stockbroker for John Hancock in Boston and once lived in Kingston, N.H., was a kind, considerate and loving person, Kingston police Chief Donald Briggs Jr. said.

“She was very involved in the community and very well-respected,” Briggs said.

Lanza’s family was struggling to make sense of what happened and “trying to find whatever answers we can,” his father, Peter Lanza, said in a statement late yesterday that also expressed sympathy for the victims’ families.

Sandy Hook Elementary will be closed next week – some parents can’t even conceive of sending their children back, Leidlein said – and officials are deciding what to do about the town’s other schools.

Asked whether the town would recover, Maryann Jacob, a clerk in the school library who took cover in a storage room with 18 fourth-graders during the shooting rampage, said: “We have to. We have a lot of children left.”

So let me see if I understand this. The very wealthy 'Prepper' Lady with the screwball anti social freak of a son collects enough firearms to outfit a small Third World Nation. Only to be executed by said son and the only thing she succeed in Prepping for was to "Prepare" 27 innocent people for the other side of Eternity. A new question for the ATF Form ~Form 4473 should be "Do you have any mentally ill or depressive people living at your residence. Answer "yes" and you are denied. cross reference with a national mentally ill data base.

That would work in a few cases, but only if the person filling out the form was honest, or if all people with mental illnesses were diagnosed and in a database. Checking no seems like the type of thing someone with plans to use the gun illegally would do automatically.

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