Connecticut shooting: Children head back to school to the sound of funeral bells

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Most children in Newtown returned to school for the first time yesterday, as bells continued to toll at the funerals for the 26 dead.

A hearse arrived at a Catholic church carrying the coffin of six-year-old James Mattioli, one of the 20 pupils killed. At least one other funeral was planned – for six-year-old Jessica Rekos – as well as several wakes, including one for teacher Victoria Soto, who has been praised as a hero for sacrificing herself to save several students.

Security remained high, and the small, affluent Connecticut community was still on edge as the rest of the country prepared for the Christmas holidays.

“There’s going to be no joy in school,” said 17-year-old PJ Hickey. “It really doesn’t feel like Christmas anymore.”

But he added, “This is where I feel the most at home. I feel safer here than anywhere else.”

In a sign of investors distancing themselves from gun makers, private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management announced it would sell its stake in arms manufacturer Freedom Group.

A statement said: “The tragedy was a watershed event that has raised the debate on gun control to an unprecedented level.”