Funerals begin for Newtown victims as schools confront tragedy

Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:55pm EST
 

By Bill Berkrot and Chris Kaufman

FAIRFIELD/NEWTOWN, Connecticut (Reuters) - One boy was buried in his hero's football jersey in a small white coffin. Balloons and a teddy bear welcomed mourners to the funeral of his first grade schoolmate.

The two funerals on Monday ushered in what will be a week of memorial services and burials for the 20 children and six adults massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

The shooting sent waves of anxiety across the country on the first school day since a 20-year-old gunman opened fire on the students and teachers in the close-knit community last week.

Within hours of the school starting bell on Monday, lockdowns were declared in nearby Connecticut and New York towns on fears of danger. And in southern California, Indiana and Tennessee, authorities arrested men on Sunday for making threats against schools.

Newtown's schools remained closed after a weekend of mourning that followed Adam Lanza's shooting spree on Friday that claimed 28 lives, including his mother's and his own.

Miniature caskets marked the first wave of funerals as Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto, both 6 years old, were laid to rest on Monday afternoon. Noah was the youngest victim of rampage and his twin sister, Arielle, escaped unhurt.

Under chilly, leaden skies, police and bomb-sniffing dogs conducted a precautionary search of the street lined with white balloons outside the Fairfield, Connecticut, funeral home where Noah's brief life was remembered.

A teddy bear and bouquet of white flowers lay at the base of an oak tree outside the Jewish service that was packed with mourners, including Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and Senator-elect Chris Murphy.   Continued...

 
A flag is seen at half mast along Main Street in Newtown, Connecticut December 17, 2012. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton